Around 140 tourists rescued after Hartbeespoort cable car shuts down

2017-07-22 19:18
Hartebeespoort cableway. (Supplied)

Hartebeespoort cableway. (Supplied)

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Johannesburg – Officials at the Hartbeespoort Aerial Cableway, north of Johannesburg, kicked into rescue mode on Saturday afternoon after a mechanical failure forced the system to be shut down.

Around 15 people were stuck in three gondolas when they came to a halt on the cableway, just moments after general manager Iain Gunn shut the system down.

Gunn said he arranged for the rescue squad to be called.

The squad ascended the cableway towers, reached the gondolas and put the occupants into safety harnesses.

They were then lowered in a process similar to abseiling.

“We had about 125 people on top of the mountain having pizzas and hamburgers, unaware that they had stopped the cable,” Gunn told News24.

He said helicopters were called in to evacuate the children and elderly from the top of the mountain.

Emergency vehicles were sent up the back of the mountain to retrieve the remainder of tourists.

Everyone was accounted for and back at the base of the cableway by 18:30.

“There were no injuries, no danger to anybody. It is amazing that the safety plan we put together over five years ago came into operation and ran like clockwork,” said Gunn.

The cableway would be closed while engineers conducted a full inspection to find out the cause of the mechanical failure.

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