SRINAGAR: Seven people including four members of a family from Delhi were killed when a cable car came crashing down due to strong winds at famous tourist resort of Gulmarg in Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday.
Director Tourism, Kashmir, Mahmood A Shah, said the cable car (gondola) crashed down at Gulmarg due to the heavy winds.
“The heavy winds uprooted the tree that later fell on ropes between tower number 7 & 8 of the Cable Car Project. One cabin got derailed from its pulley and crashed down resulting into the tragic death of seven people,” he said.
Sources said the cable car came falling down from a height of at least 30 metres (100 feet) after deralling from the pulley.
The cable car at Gulmarg ferries passengers to a height of 4,100 metres (13,450 feet) for panoramic views of the snow-clad Himalayas. It is the favourite choice for the tourists and locals visiting the Gulmarg.
Shah said among the seven dead includes four members of Andraskar family from Delhi.
They were identified as Jayant Andraskar S/o Namdev R/o b-209 Delhi admin staff qtrs Shalimar Bagh Dehli, his wife Manshea Andraskar and their daughters Anagha Jayanat Andraskar and Janhvi Jayant Andraskar.
Two local guides were also killed in the incident.
Immediately after the cable car crashed, authorities launched an operation to rescue the people stuck in the gondolas.
The police, tourism officials and locals reached the area to rescue the trapped people and recover bodies of the deceased from the gondola.
A police official said local police with help of locals and All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) operators rescued about 150 stranded persons.
The injured persons were shifted to hospital.
“The administration made necessary efforts to take back the cabin, fixed the ropes and ferried stranded tourists back to Gulmarg bowl,” said Tourism Director.
A police official said the cable car was later restored.
It was for the first time after cable car project became operational in Gulmarg that an accident has taken place and a gondola came falling down.
Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti expressed grief and shock over the tragic accident.
She has directed officials to conduct a high level inquiry to know of the causes or lapses, if any, that led to the accident.
Mehbooba announced ex gratia relief of Rs. five lakh in favour of next of kin of the killed.