10 December 2018

Cable car accident left 75 passengers dangling in the air

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Dozens of tourists were stranded on a cable car high above the River Rhine in Germany after an accident. Small children and a pregnant woman were among those who had to be rescued after the terrifying incident in the city of Cologne. reports citing Sputnik.

One of the cable car gondolas collided with a pylon 40 meters above the city on Sunday, July 30, disabling the entire network.

All of the 32 gondolas were brought to a halt.

Passengers were trapped for more than two hours before fire cars were able to rescue them, using cranes and ropes.

Footage showed passengers being forced to abseil down to boats waiting on the river below.

Hans-Peter and Martina Rieger were celebrating their 41st wedding anniversary when they were trapped in one of the gondolas.

"It will always be in our memory. Fortunately, we were given hand signals to tell us we should remain calm and the incident was nothing bad," said Mr. Rieger, showing amazing fortitude.

"Emergency services were sent to the scene and soon after arriving were able to ascertain that one of the cable cars on the left side Rhine pylon had come off the cable with its front wheels," said Christian Heinrich, a spokesman for Cologne's Fire Department.

Transport officials said the cable cars will not be brought back into action until they have received a comprehensive new inspection and a safety certificate.

"We have no idea how something like this could happen," said a spokesman for Cologne's KVB transport network, which runs the cable car.

The cable car in Cologne has been running over the Rhine River for 60 years and is one of the city's tourist attractions, along with the famous 13th century cathedral, which survived incessant bombing by the RAF during the Second World War.

They connect the city's zoo with the Rheinpark.

In October 2014 a strong wind forced one of the gondolas off course, trapping a family inside.

But the operators said on Monday, July 31, wind had not been a factor in Sunday's incident.

"I would like to thank the Cologne fire brigade for their great dedication. This meant that the passengers could be rescued quickly. My thoughts were with the children and adults, who had to wait courageously and patiently for many hours," said the Mayor of Cologne, Henriette Reker.

Boris Johnson, when he was Mayor of London, introduced a cable car in 2012 between Greenwich and the Royal Docks. It has been criticized for costing taxpayers millions and being under-used.

But it is nothing compared to the amazing cable car which crosses rooftops in the Bolivian city of La Paz and allows people from the shantytowns to reach downtown.

Even more breathtaking is the 10 mile cable car journey from Merida in Venezuela to the nearby Espejo Peak.

In 2016, China began building a cable car between the border city of Heihe and the Russian city of Blagoveshchensk.

2017.07.31 / 21:44
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