Dozens rescued after cable car accident kills one person in Turkey

After an operation lasting almost 24 hours, 184 people stranded in midair since Friday afternoon have been rescued.

Rescue teams take part in the rescue operation after the accident in Antalya [Ihlas News Agency via Reuters]Published On 13 Apr 202413 Apr 2024

One person has been killed and 17 others injured in the southern Turkish province of Antalya after a cable car cabin collided with a broken pole, according to the country’s health and justice ministers.

The injured people “were transferred to hospitals and their treatment continues”, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on the social media platform X on Saturday.

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People who were rescued and stated that they did not need hospital transportation had the health checks performed in ambulances, he added.

The accident happened late on Friday afternoon. One cable car in the Sarisu-Tunektepe system plummeted into a rocky area, Koca said.

After about 24 hours of rescue efforts, 184 people stranded in midair since the accident had been rescued, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency said.

In a statement on X, the Ministry of the Interior said seven helicopters and more than 500 rescue workers took part in rescue efforts.

Istanbul resident Hatice Polat and her family were rescued seven hours into the ordeal.

Speaking to Anadolu, she said the power went out and the pod flipped four or five times.

“The night was awful, we were very scared. There were children with us, they passed out,” she said. “It was torture being up there for seven hours. It is swaying every second, you’re constantly in fear. … It was very traumatic, I don’t know how we’ll get over this trauma.”

Thirteen suspects to be detained

Anadolu identified the deceased as a 54-year-old Turkish man. Those injured included two children, Turkish citizens and a Kyrgyz national.

Images in Turkish media showed the battered cable car swaying from dislodged cables on the side of the rocky mountain as medics tended to the wounded.

Videos released by the interior and health ministries showed rescue personnel tied to safety ropes climbing into cabins.

The cable car carries tourists from Konyaalti Beach to a restaurant and viewing platform at the summit of the 618-metre (2,028-foot) Tunektepe peak. It is run by Antalya Metropolitan Municipality.

The cable car line was completed in 2017 and receives a major inspection around the beginning of the year, as well as routine inspections throughout the year.

Yilmaz Tunc, Turkey’s minister of justice, said an investigation has been launched and detention orders were issued for 13 people over the accident.

Tunc said on X that a preliminary report suggested that the accident happened due to corrosion and inadequacy at the connection points of the carrier poles of the cable car as well as damage in the rolling system.

He said suspects ordered to be detained included some of the employees of the company operating the cable car and the employees of the company responsible for the maintenance and repair of the line.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies