Hundreds stranded in cable car accident on Malaysia's Langkawi

2018-02-20 10:00
Cable car. (iStock)

Cable car. (iStock)

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Kuala Lumpur – Hundreds of tourists were stranded for hours after a cable car broke down on the Malaysian island of Langkawi, authorities said on Monday, with some left dangling in cabins over a jungle-clad mountain as night fell.

Over 1 000 tourists, including some Western and Chinese visitors, and scores of cable car workers were trapped on Sunday when a faulty part caused the popular attraction to grind to a halt, officials said.

Almost 90 people were travelling on the cable car – which is on the island's second-highest peak and offers panoramic views over the palm-fringed tourist hotspot – at the time of the accident.

The majority were at the top of 700m Mount Machinchang, or at a station halfway down.

Twitter user Pricillia posted a picture of the stationary cable car up on the hill, with the message: "Worst experience ever".

Those on the attraction were left hanging precariously for three hours before rescuers brought them down at about 21:00 by operating the cable car manually.

"People were nervous and fearful but when they saw the firefighters arriving, they clapped and began to smile," Langkawi fire and rescue chief Mohamad Hisham Ibrahim told AFP.

The cable car was fixed at about 23:00 after a faulty bearing was replaced, allowing rescuers to bring down the remaining tourists and workers in batches, with the operation ending after midnight, Hisham told AFP. None were injured.

It was reported to be the most serious accident to hit the attraction, which bills itself as the one of the world's steepest cable cars, since it started operating in 2003. The operator pledged a thorough investigation.

Langkawi, off the west coast of northern Malaysia, attracts hordes of domestic and foreign tourists to its pristine beaches and jungle-clad valleys.

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