Six children and two adults were riding in a cable car Tuesday morning to cross a mountainous region of Pakistan when a cable snapped, leaving the travelers dangling 1,150 feet above ground for six hours.
At least four children have been rescued so far as the Pakistan Army continue the "incredibly delicate" operation, according to NPR, made more dangerous by "the wind created by the helicopters' blades" which "could further weaken cables holding the car aloft." (See videos of rescue operation below, posted by Insider Times, Pakistan Armed Forces News, and the Stratcom Bureau.)
The children, between the ages of 11–15, were using the cable car to cross a river canyon on their way to school in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Relatives of those trapped prayed while anxiously watching the operation unfold. The rescue has also transfixed Pakistanis across the country who crowded around televisions in offices, shops, restaurants and hospitals.
According to Pakistani TV stations, some of those trapped were in contact with their families by cell phone, while authorities said the two adults were consoling the children, who were between the ages of 11 and 15.
One of the cables snapped while the eight people were crossing a river canyon in Battagram district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The children had been on their way to school, and villagers frequently use cable cars to get around Pakistan's mountainous regions. But the cars are often poorly maintained and every year people die or are injured while traveling in them. …
Tipu Sultan, a retired army brigadier and defense expert, warned that the helicopters themselves could make the situation worse but that the commandos would be well aware of that risk. Khan added that the pilots were flying "carefully."
"Let us pray that those trapped in the cable car are safely rescued," Sultan said.