33 tourists trapped overnight in Mont Blanc cable cars rescued

The Mont-Blanc cable car "Skyway" in Courmayeur on Sept 9.
The Mont-Blanc cable car "Skyway" in Courmayeur on Sept 9. PHOTO: AFP

LYON (REUTERS) - Rescuers brought 33 people trapped overnight in cable cars high over the glaciers of Mont Blanc to safety on Friday morning (Sept 9) after technicians repaired the ride’s tangled cables, the operator said.

Emergency workers had scrambled at first light to rescue the stranded people, who included a child, after the ride jammed at 5.30pm on Thursday (11.30pm Singapore time).

More than 110 people were initially trapped on the 5km ride between two mountain peaks at an altitude of over 3,000m when three cables snared.

One group evacuated from the dangling cable cars on Friday morning was seen in a cafe at the base of the ride in the French town of Chamonix, as police and camera crews swarmed outside. "


In a statement, La Compagnie du Mont Blanc, which runs the cable car, gave no reason for the accident but said the cables could become tangled after an abrupt halt to the system or in strong winds.

Four helicopters rescued 65 people from the four-person cable cars before night fell over Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps, and dropped emergency blankets and bottles of water for those left stuck.

Another dozen people were evacuated during the night by rescuers using ropes.

The cable car connects Aiguille du Midi peak on the French side of the mountain and the Helbronner summit on the Italian border. The panoramic ride over glaciers usually takes 30 minutes to complete.