Cable car accident in Turkey: 174 trapped in air rescued

A cable car crashed into a pole on Friday afternoon, sending its passengers down the mountainside below.

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The last of 174 people trapped in cable cars over a mountain in southern Turkey were brought to safety on Saturday.

One person was killed and seven others were injured when the pod of a cable car hit a power pole and exploded on the rocks below on Friday.

Hundreds were stranded, and more than 40 were still trapped high on the mountain 19 hours after the incident.

The accident happened on the Tunektepe cable car outside the Mediterranean city of Antalya during the Eid al-Fitr holiday.

A total of 607 search and rescue personnel and 10 helicopters were deployed, some with night vision capability.

Rescue operations continued throughout the night from Friday to Saturday.

Istanbul resident Hatice Polat and her family were rescued in a seven-hour raid. Speaking to Anadolu Agency, he said that the electricity was cut off and the pod overturned four or five times.

“The night was terrible and we were very scared. We had children with us and they died,” he said.

“Being there for seven hours was torture. It shakes every second and you are constantly in fear. … It was very traumatic and I don't know how we will recover from this trauma.

The state-run Anadolu Agency identified the deceased as a 54-year-old Turk. The injured were six Turkish nationals and one Kyrgyz national, including two children. They were rescued by Coast Guard helicopters.

Teams from Turkey's Emergency Response Agency, AFAD, Coast Guard, Fire Service and mountain rescue teams from different parts of the country were involved in the operation.

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Pictures in Turkish media showed a damaged car with cables down the side of a rocky mountain, treating the injured.

Officials said a total of 543 first responders and seven helicopters, including AFAD, coast guard, fire brigades and mountaineering teams from different parts of Turkey, were involved in the rescue operations.

Families are flocking to seaside resorts on Friday, the final day of a three-day public holiday in Turkey marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Antalya Metropolitan Municipality's cable car takes tourists from Konyaalti Beach to the restaurant and viewing platform at the top of the 618-meter Tunektepe peak.

It is advertised on TripAdvisor as a “must-do” attraction, offering “stunning panoramas of Antalya and the Mediterranean”. The ride takes nine minutes.

The cable car line was completed in 2017. It gets a big inspection at the beginning of the year and regular inspections throughout the year.

The Antalya Chief Public Prosecutor's Office has launched an investigation.

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An expert team consisting of mechanical and electrical engineers and health and safety experts was appointed to investigate the cause of the incident.

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