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Gulmarg cable car accident: How locals, cops, army came together in hour of need

Seven tourists were killed when a cable car crashed after a tree fell on the cable at the famous ski-resort of Gulmarg.

india Updated: Jun 26, 2017 11:02 IST
Abhishek Saha
Seven tourists were killed when a cable car crashed after a tree fell on the cable in Gulmarg.
Seven tourists were killed when a cable car crashed after a tree fell on the cable in Gulmarg.(Waseem Andrabi/HT Photo)

Piyush Agarwal from Jaipur was busy with local sightseeing in Gulmarg while his wife had opted for the gondola ride with a few other relatives.

At around 6pm, a panic-struck Agarwal was running down the base boarding station of the cable car service. His wife was safe but stranded for at least three hours now in the car.

Kashmiri tourist guides who were gathered at the station and helping in the rescue patted Agarwal’s back and calmed him down. They offered him water and assured him of her return.

Seven tourists, four of them from a Delhi family, were killed when a cable car crashed after a tree fell on the cable at the famous ski-resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir’s Baramulla.

After the accident, locals, local tour guides, All Terrain Vehicle drivers, district administration officials, police and the Indian Army all came together to help the stranded people.

Read | Delhi family killed in Gulmarg Gondola accident loved to travel, had planned the vacation last minute

Addressing the media, senior superintendent of police Baramulla, Imtiyaz Hussain said that 150 stranded people were rescued by a joint effort from locals, officials, army and police.

“It’s humanity, not business. We rushed to save the injured. You can still see blood on my t-shirt.”

A police statement issued at night said, “A number of locals especially All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) operators helped the police in rescue operation...For providing assistance all those who helped police will be suitably rewarded.”

Mohammad Abbas Wani, the local MLA, addressing the media expressed his happiness at the participation of locals, police and Army in the rescue operation.

ATV drivers said that they were the first ones who had taken their vehicles and rushed up the hill to rescue the stranded passengers.

Mir Fayaz, an ATV driver, said he helped pull out the dead bodies of the Delhi-based family out of the damaged cable car. “It’s humanity, not business. We rushed to save the injured. You can still see blood on my t-shirt.”

Over 100 tourists were stranded at the Gulmarg ski resort. (HT File Photo)

The Indian Army personnel did their best to rescue the traumatised tourists and tended to them as they got down from their cable cars which were left hanging mid air for at least three hours. “When bad weather struck and our car was swaying, we offered our last prayers to Allah. But then we realised we were safe. In some time, we saw the Indian Army at work and felt we were in safe hands,” said Ruhul Amin from Bangladesh.

When Chitra Wazir Kumar and her relatives from Delhi were brought down from their cable car, she said, “Local guides risked their lives to rescue
tourists.”