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WORLD

More than 40 People Still Stranded the Day after a Deadly Cable Car Accident in Turkey

ISTANBUL (AP) — More than 40 people remained stranded in cable cars high above a mountain in southern Turkey on Saturday, 19 hours after one pod hit a pole and burst open, killing one person and injuring seven.

The accident occurred around 5:30 p.m. Friday at the Tunektepe cable car just outside the Mediterranean city of Antalya during the busy Eid al-Fitr holiday. Operations to rescue the stranded people continued throughout the night.

“128 citizens in 16 pods have been rescued under difficult conditions,” Okay Memis, director of the Turkish search and rescue agency AFAD, told media Saturday morning. “The rescue of 43 others in eight remaining pods is ongoing.”

He added that rescuers hope to complete rescue operations before dark.

The casualties occurred when a pod hit a pole and burst open, sending its passengers plummeting to the mountainside below, officials said.

State-run Anadolu Agency identified the deceased as a 54-year-old Turkish man. The injured were six Turkish citizens and one Kyrgyz national, including two children. They were rescued by Coast Guard helicopters.

A severely damaged cabin of a cable car transportation system is seen outside Antalya, southern Turkey, Friday, April 12, 2024. At least one person was killed and several injured Friday when a cable car pod in southern Turkey 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. (Dia Images via AP)

Images in Turkish media showed the battered car swaying from dislodged cables on the side of the rocky mountain as medics tended the wounded.

A total of 543 first responders and seven helicopters are involved in the rescue operations, including teams from AFAD, the Coast Guard, firefighting teams and mountaineering teams from different parts of Turkey, officials said.

Friday was the final day of a three-day public holiday in Turkey 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-meter (2,010-foot) Tunektepe peak. It is run by Antalya Metropolitan Municipality. The cable car line was completed in 2017 and receives a major inspection around the beginning of the year, as well as routine inspections throughout the year.

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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