“It was torture”: witnesses spoke about the tragedy on the cable car near Antalya

“It was torture”: witnesses spoke about the tragedy on the cable car near Antalya


The last batch of 174 people stuck on a broken cable car in Turkey near a resort popular among Russian tourists have been rescued from a dangerous trap. Passengers were trapped in the air overnight after the cabin crashed into a pole and exploded, killing one person and injuring others.

The last 43 passengers of the 174 people stranded on a cable car high in the mountains of southern Turkey were brought to safety nearly 23 hours after one of the cabins hit a pole and exploded, killing one person and injuring 10 when they fell. onto the rocks below, writes The Guardian.

Turkish Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya announced the successful completion of the rescue operation on X, formerly Twitter, on Saturday afternoon.

A total of 607 search and rescue personnel and 10 helicopters were involved, including teams from Turkey’s emergency management agency Afad, the coast guard, fire brigades and mountain rescue teams from different parts of Turkey, officials said. Helicopters equipped with night vision equipment continued to rescue people throughout the night.

People have been stuck on the Tunektepe cable car, near the Mediterranean city of Antalya, since 5.30pm on Friday when the accident occurred, The Guardian recalls.

Istanbul resident Ayse Hatice Polat and her family were among those rescued. She told Anadolu Agency that the power went out and the cabin overturned four or five times.

“The night was terrible, we were very scared. There were children with us, they lost consciousness,” the woman said. “It was torture to be there for seven hours.” It swings every second, you are constantly in fear… It was very traumatic, I don’t know how we will cope with this trauma.”

Okay Memish, head of Turkey’s disaster management agency Afad, said people had been rescued from at least 16 cable cars after a “very dangerous operation.”

He said: “This accident occurred due to a breakdown of the mechanism at the top of the cable car support.”

The state-run Anadolu Agency identified the deceased as a 54-year-old Turkish man. Among the victims were two children, six or more Turkish citizens and one Kyrgyz citizen. Soon after the crash, they were all rescued by Coast Guard helicopters and taken for treatment. Photos published in Turkish media showed the wrecked car swinging on broken cables on the side of a rocky mountain as medics treated the wounded.

Interior Minister Yerlikaya also said that 13 people rescued from other vehicles were also taken to hospitals for examination.

Friday was the final day of a three-day public holiday in Turkey marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, when families flock to coastal resorts, The Guardian recalls.

The cable car at the center of the incident takes tourists from Konyaalti beach to a restaurant and observation deck at the top of the 618-meter Tunektepe peak. This transport facility is managed by the Antalya Municipality. The cable car line was completed in 2017 and undergoes a major inspection around the beginning of the year, as well as routine inspections throughout the year.

The Antalya Chief Prosecutor’s Office has launched an investigation, writes The Guardian. An expert committee consisting of mechanical and electrical engineers, as well as health and safety experts, was appointed to determine the cause of the incident.

Thirteen people, including managers of the cable car company, have received detention orders as part of the investigation into the cause of the accident, Turkish Justice Minister Yilmaz Tunç said.

“The incident occurred due to inadequate and corroded fastenings at the junction points of the cable car supports,” Tunç told TV Channel X, citing a preliminary report that also pointed to the poor condition of the suspension systems.


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