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Turkey: 174 people rescued after deadly cable car accident

April 13, 2024

A 57-year-old man died when his cable car pod burst open, causing those inside to plummet to the ground. Other passengers were stranded overnight as the complex rescue operation spanned two days.

The destroyed cable car pod in Antalya, Turkey, as seen on April 12
Passengers plummeted to the ground after one of the cable car pods burst openImage: Uncredited/DIA Images/AP/dpa/picture alliance

The last remaining person out of 174 stranded passengers was rescued from a cable car in Turkey on Saturday afternoon, a day after a passenger was killed when one of the pods burst open.

The incident occurred at the Tunektepe cable car outside of Antalya, a popular resort destination on the Mediterranean coast.

Turkish news agency Anadolu identified the deceased as a 54-year-old Turkish man. Six Turkish citizens and one Kyrgyz national were also injured, including two children among them

The tragedy coincided with Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the Muslim holy month Ramadan.

What happened?

The incident occurred after one of the cable car masts fell over, Anadolu reported.

One of the pods then collided with the mast and burst open, sending its passengers plummeting into the mountainside below.

The rescue operation in Antalya, Turkey, as seen on April 13
Hundreds of rescuers were called in to save stranded passengersImage: Uncredited/DIA Images/AP/dpa/picture alliance

The rest of the passengers remained trapped in the other pods until they could be rescued — a day later, in some cases.

"The night was awful, we were very scared. There were children with us, they passed out," one passenger told Anadolu.

"It was torture being up there for seven hours. It is swaying every second, you're constantly in fear ... It was very traumatic, I don't know how we'll get over this trauma."

Investigation underway

The incident prompted a wide-ranging emergency response that involved 607 first responders and ten helicopters.

It included teams from Turkey's search and rescue agency AFAD as well as the coast guard, fire brigade and mountaineering teams from different parts of Turkey.

An investigation into the incident is now underway.

Police detained 13 people in relation to the incident, including officials from the private company that runs the cable car, Justice Minister Tunc Yilmaz told reporters.

The Tunektepe cable car was built in 2017 and can transport 1,200 people per hour.

The rescue operation in Antalya, Turkey, as seen on April 13
The rescue operation took place over two daysImage: Uncredited/DIA Images/AP/dpa/picture alliance

zc/wd (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)