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Dozens rescued from fatal Turkey cable car accident after 23 hours

WorldDozens rescued from fatal Turkey cable car accident after 23 hours

Rescuers finished evacuating dozens of passengers trapped for 23 hours mid-air Saturday after a cable car accident in southern Turkey that killed one person.

Ten people, including children, were injured in the accident, which happened late Friday afternoon in the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya when a supporting pylon collapsed.

One cable car in the Sarisu-Tunektepe system plummeted into a rocky area, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.

A total of 174 passengers, including children, were “successfully” rescued from at least 16 cable cars after a “very dangerous operation”, said Okay Memis, the head of Turkey’s disaster and emergency management agency Afad.

“This accident occurred following the breakage of a mechanism at the top of a cable car pylon,” Memis added.

The remaining 43 passengers who were suspended in the air were finally freed on Saturday afternoon.

The site of a cable car accident near the resort city of Antalya in southern Turkey. Photo: AP

Ayse Hatice Polat, a woman in her fifties, kissed the ground as she descended from a helicopter, several local media reported.

Ten helicopters and more than 600 rescuers, including specialist mountaineers, had been at the scene, authorities said.

Thirteen people, including managers of the cable car company, faced detention orders as part of an investigation into the causes of the accident, Turkish Justice Minister Yilmaz Tunc said.

“The incident occurred because of inadequate and corroded fastenings at the connection points of the cable car’s support towers,” Tunc said on X, formerly Twitter, referring to a preliminary report that also pointed to the poor condition of the pulley systems.

One person was killed and several were injured on Friday in a cable car accident in southern Turkey. Photo: via AP

State-run Anadolu Agency identified the deceased as a 54-year-old Turkish man.

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

Friday was the final day of a three-day public holiday in Turkey marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which sees families flock to coastal resorts.

The cable car carries tourists from Konyaalti beach to a restaurant and viewing platform at the summit of the 618-metre 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.

Antalya Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has launched an investigation. An expert commission including mechanical and electrical engineers and health and safety experts was assigned to determine the cause of the incident.

Additional reporting by Associated Press

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