Passengers rescued from fatal Turkey cable car accident after 23 hours

ISTANBUL – Rescue workers finished evacuating dozens of passengers trapped for 23 hours mid-air Saturday after a cable car accident in southern Turkey that killed one person.

Ten people were injured in the accident, which happened late Friday afternoon in the resort city of Antalya when a supporting pylon collapsed.

One cable car in the Sarisu-Tunektepe system plummeted into a rocky area, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.

A total of 174 passengers, including children, were “successfully” rescued from at least 16 cable cars after a “very dangerous operation”, said Okay Memis, the head of Turkey’s disaster and emergency management agency Afad.

“This accident occurred following the breakage of a mechanism at the top of a cable car pylon,” Memis added.

The remaining 43 passengers who were suspended in the air were finally freed Saturday afternoon.

Ayse Hatice Polat, a woman in her fifties who had been trapped in a cabin for more than twenty-one hours, kissed the ground as she descended from the helicopter, several local media reported. 

Ten helicopters and more than 600 rescuers, including specialist mountaineers, had been at the scene, authorities said.

Thirteen people, including managers of the cable car company, faced detention orders as part of an investigation into the causes of the accident, Turkish Justice Minister Yilmaz Tunc said.

“The incident occurred because of inadequate and corroded fastenings at the connection points of the cable car’s support towers,” Tunc said on X, formerly Twitter, referring to a preliminary report that also pointed to the poor condition of the pulley systems. –AFP