Batagram: In the heart of Battagram district, a risky rescue operation has been initiated to save eight individuals, including six school children, who became stranded in a chairlift situated at an astounding altitude of 900 feet.
The district of Battagram is renowned for its captivating landscapes, and it’s here that an unfortunate incident unfolded. The frayed cables of a chairlift, a common mode of transport for students to reach their school, gave way, leaving eight people suspended high above the ground.
As per the spokesperson of Battagram Police, the incident transpired around 7 a.m. on Tuesday when six children and two teachers found themselves trapped in the chairlift due to the breakage of a cable.
With the situation at hand requiring swift action, the Pakistan Army dispatched a helicopter to rescue the individuals marooned in the chairlift. A specialized team from the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is also actively participating in the rescue operation.
A statement from ISI revealed that two out of the three cables supporting the chairlift have snapped, and there’s a concern about the integrity of the remaining cable, which might be compromised due to the air pressure generated by the helicopter.
The statement underscored the need for an extremely cautious approach in executing the rescue operation using the helicopter.
Prior to this, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial government had already deployed a helicopter from Peshawar to assist in the rescue of the trapped individuals. Additionally, a standby emergency team was on site.
The local administration of Battagram had requested the provincial government for the helicopter’s deployment. A team of social workers from the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) confirmed that eight individuals, including six children, were stuck in the chairlift. The chairlift, situated around 900 feet above the ground, had its cables damaged, rendering it immobile.
A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office emphasized the need for immediate action and called for enhanced safety measures for all chairlifts in mountainous areas. The Prime Minister directed authorities to ensure the prompt closure of all chairlifts that fail to meet safety and operational standards.
Local sources report that upon receiving news of the incident, mosques in the vicinity began making announcements to inform the community, and rescue teams were mobilized.
“It’s a location where relying on anything other than a helicopter for assistance is virtually impossible. Contact has been established with helicopter services, and they are expected to arrive within minutes,” a local social worker, Ahmad Khan, informed Urdu News.
Mr. Khan further elaborated that despite several hours passing, the rescue operation had not yet commenced due to the area’s remote location and limited network coverage. He highlighted the gravity of the situation, emphasizing that swift action is necessary to prevent any unforeseen mishaps.
He suggested, “A rope tied to a nearby pole needs to be slowly drawn, bringing it closer to the ground and subsequently near the surface to extract the trapped individuals.”
The seasoned pilot, Captain Asim Noor, who has executed numerous challenging aerial operations in his career, expressed the complexity of the ongoing operation in Battagram. He stressed that time is of the essence for the pilots, and it would be wise to explore alternative methods.
Captain Noor remarked, “This operation is exceptionally demanding due to atmospheric conditions, and unfortunately, the current weather is unfavorable. Darkness will fall in the next few hours, rendering the helicopter operation increasingly difficult. It’s crucial to explore other options promptly.”
He recalled his experiences coordinating with commandos during airborne missions, asserting that darkness would inevitably hinder helicopter maneuvers. Therefore, it is advisable to swiftly consider an alternative method to rescue the trapped individuals.
He concluded that either a helicopter or a rope pulled from the chairlift or platform can be employed to save the individuals, as the prospects of an alternative route seem unlikely.
In the midst of this challenging situation, the authorities and rescue teams are working tirelessly to ensure the safety and well-being of the trapped individuals. With the cooperation of various entities, a successful rescue operation is anticipated, saving lives and highlighting the significance of swift response during such emergencies.