Alpine Tourists Rescued From Stranded Cable Car

Posted August 13th, 2011 at 10:05 am (UTC-5)
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German rescue crews have freed 20 tourists who were trapped in a cable car suspended 100 meters above the ground in the Bavarian Alps.

Helicopters lifted the tourists, including children and the elderly, to safety early Saturday, after they spent the night inside the gondola, which is only about 12 square meters in size. Authorities said everyone appears to be in good health.

Cable cars bring tourists up Tegelberg mountain in southern Germany for a closeup view of the famous Neuschwanstein Castle. Officials said the system came to a halt Friday after a pair of paragliders crashed into the cables.

Rescuers were able to get food – and toys for the children – to the stranded passengers during the night, while helicopters waited for first light.

A second cable car was left dangling closer to the ground by Friday's accident, so rescuers were able to use ropes to return those passengers to safety before dark Friday. The two people aboard the tandem paraglider that struck suspension cables reportedly suffered only minor injuries.

Helicopters also were used to transfer more than 100 visitors stranded high on the mountain by the incident.

Tegelberg, nearly 1,900 meters high, overlooks Neuschwanstein Castle, a former royal retreat that has been visited by 60 million people during the past 125 years. The castle's soaring Gothic Revival style is said to have inspired modern animated films such as the Walt Disney corporation's “Sleeping Beauty.”