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Cable car accident in Turkiye sends 1 passenger to his death and injures 7, with scores stranded

A rescue team work with passengers of a cable car transportation systems outside Antalya, southern Turkiye, April, Friday 12, 2024. (IHA via AP) A rescue team work with passengers of a cable car transportation systems outside Antalya, southern Turkiye, April, Friday 12, 2024. (IHA via AP)
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ISTANBUL -

One person was killed and seven injured Friday when a cable car pod in southern Turkiye hit a pole and burst open, sending the passengers plummeting to the mountainside below, officials and local media said. Scores of other people were left stranded late into the night after the entire cable car system came to a standstill.

Two children were among the injured in the accident at the Tunektepe cable car just outside the Mediterranean city of Antalya at about 6 p.m. during the busy Eid al-Fitr holiday, the state-run Anadolu Agency said.

Anadolu identified the deceased as a 54-year-old Turkish man, and said six Turkish citizens and one Kyrgyz national were injured.

Five of the injured were ferried off the mountain by helicopter and efforts continued to remove the other two injured people, Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said three hours after the accident. The rescue operation involved more than 160 first responders including air crews from the Coast Guard and mountaineering teams from different parts of Turkiye, the minister posted on social media site X.

Some 184 other passengers were trapped in 25 other cable car pods dozens of feet (tens of meters) above the ground as engineers tried to restart the system, Antalya Mayor Muhittin Bocek said in a statement. Helicopters with night vision imaging were heading to the site, he said.

Search and rescue agency AFAD later said 49 people had been rescued from the suspended pods, leaving 135 still stranded close to midnight — about six hours after the accident.

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 Turkiye 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 (2,010-feet) Tunektepe peak. It is run by Antalya Metropolitan Municipality.

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. 

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