All eight people who were stranded in a cable car dangling 900 feet over a ravine in Pakistan were saved on Tuesday after a lengthy rescue operation
A 15-year-old boy, who was one of the eight people rescued from a cable car in Pakistan stuck dangling 900 feet over a ravine, believes their survival is a miracle.
"I saw a miraculous rescue happening with my own eyes," 15-year-old Osama Sharif told the Associated Press.
Sharif was among those en route to school around 9 a.m. local time on Tuesday in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province when one of the cable car's cables broke and left them stranded up in the air, per CNN. The entire ordeal lasted about 16 hours.
“We suddenly felt a jolt," he told the AP, "It all happened so suddenly that we thought all of us are going to die."
Army helicopters were involved in the rescue operation, and video footage showed a chopper hovering above the cable car to send food and water to the stranded passengers via a commando sliding down a rope, The New York Times reported.
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High winds hampered the air rescue effort at one point, which forced the rescuers to use the one remaining working cable as a zip line from which they retrieved three children, according to The Guardian.
Footage also appeared to show a child hanging from the end of a rope attached to a helicopter as it flew to safety, per CNN.
Local police chief Nazir Ahmed told the AP that because helicopters could no longer fly after sunset, authorities used a makeshift chairlift to reach the cable car using the last cable.
Once on the ground, the children received oxygen before they were released to their parents, Ahmed said.
The AP noted that cable cars are widely used method of transportation in the Battagram district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Yet, people die or are injured while using them each year because they are often neglected.
"The school is located in a mountainous area and there are no safe crossings, so it's common to use the chairlift," according to headmaster Ali Asghar Khan, who said the children are students at his government high school, Battangi Pashto, via AFP.
One of the rescued students told the AP that despite what happened, once the cable car is repaired, he will have to use it to go to school. “I have no other option,” Ata Ullah told the news agency.
The owner of the cable car, was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly ignoring safety measures, per the AP and the BBC.
Wednesday's arrest comes after Anwaar ul Haq Kakar, Pakistan’s caretaker prime minister, said he "directed the authorities to conduct safety inspections of all such private cable car and ensure that they are safe to operate and use."
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