Two wires of a chair lift car in Battagram’s Allai tehsil snapped on Tuesday morning leaving at least eight people, including schoolchildren and teachers stranded at over 2,000 metres mid-air.
The children were headed to school when the incident occured at around 8am, according to Allai tehsil chairperson Mufti Gulamullah.
Meanwhile, a notice issued by the provincial authorities later in the day stated that the incident occured at the GHS Batangi Pashto spot over the Jangri Khwar stream. Officials said the incident occured at 8.30am.
Springing into action, the Hazara Division Commissioner’s Office reached out to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) and the provincial government’s relief, rehabilitation and settlement department seeking a helicopter on urgent basis to initiate the rescue operation.
Following which, the PDMA too reached out to the NDMA director Islamabad and a helicopter was dispatched by the Pakistan Army to expedite the rescue operation. A second helicopter was sent by the military shortly after.
While awaiting rescue, two children reportedly fainted inside the chair lift.
As news of the accident spread, higher ups from the provincial and federal interim governments issued directives to the relevant officials to speedy rescue.
“The chairlift accident in Battagram, KP is really alarming. I have directed the NDMA, PDMA and district authorities to urgently ensure safe rescue and evacuation of the 8 people stuck in the chairlift. I have also directed the authorities to conduct safety inspections of all such private chairlifts and ensure that they are safe to operate and use,” wrote Interim Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar on X, formerly Twitter.
Caretaker Interior Minister Sarfaraz Ahmed Bugti has directed to speed up the rescue operation to save the children and teachers stranded in Battagram chairlift, reported state media.
Meanwhile, the NDMA has sought a safety audit from all provincial disaster management authorities on tourist infrastructure in their respective areas.