(LONDON) — Two adults and six children were rescued Tuesday after they were left dangling hundreds of feet above the ground in Pakistan when a cable car used to get kids to school broke, sparking a dramatic hourslong rescue operation.
The six children ranged in age from 10 to 15 years old. Pakistani Prime Minister Anwaar ul Haq Kakar said he was “relieved” that everyone was “successfully and safely rescued.”
“Great team work by the military, rescue departments, district administration as well as the local people,” Kakar said in a series of posts on X, formerly known as Twitter. “Our nation’s spirit shines brightest today. Proud of our heroes!”
A helicopter was dispatched to the site of the rescue operation in Battagram, approximately 120 miles north of the country’s capital city of Islamabad. Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority worked with the Pakistan Army to rescue the stranded passengers.
The complex and difficult rescue mission took about 16 hours to complete, a Pakistani military spokesman told ABC News.
The Special Services Group, also known as the Commandos, sling team rescued the eight people from a height of 600 feet, the spokesman said, adding that the passengers had been moved to a safe place.
Following their rescue, several of the children said they were scared in the moment, and are grateful to have been rescued.
“We were very scared. First, the car was shaking; then helicopters came and we gained some confidence and were saved by the grace of Allah,” one of the children told ABC News, as translated by a reporter.
“We were shaken but later it was fine,” another child said.
The broken-down cable car is reportedly used daily to take students to school in the remote region of Pakistan.
Kakar — who has only been in office for eight days — issued a statement earlier on social media about the chairlift.
“The chairlift accident in Battagram, KP is really alarming. I have directed the NDMA, PDMA and district authorities to urgently ensure safe rescue and evacuation of the 8 people stuck in the chairlift,” he said. “I have also directed the authorities to conduct safety inspections of all such private chairlifts and ensure that they are safe to operate and use.”
ABC News’ Ellie Kauffman and Morgan Winsor contributed to this report.
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