Passengers trapped overnight in cable cars over French Alps rescued

CHAMONIX, France, Sept. 9 (UPI) — Local officials said all of the 110 people who were trapped in cable cars 12,000 feet above mountainous terrain in eastern France were rescued early Friday.

At least three children were among 33 people who were forced to stay inside a cable car overnight after darkness and weather conditions delayed rescue efforts late Thursday. The Vallee Blanche gondola was traveling over the town of Chamonix on Thursday afternoon when it stopped.

Officials checked in regularly with the trapped passengers, who used survival kits housed within each cabin containing blankets, water and cereal bars. Extra food supplies were delivered to those authorities could reach.

“At first I thought it would be OK, that I could handle the cold, it wasn’t that bad,” Clement Delisle, a passenger who stayed overnight, told CNN. “But then it started getting colder and colder, and at 3 or 4 a.m., the survival blankets were useless. It was really cold … I did not sleep during the night. It was horrible.”

The Vallee Blanche Cable Car carries riders along glaciers and crevasses and connects the Aiguille du Midi peak to the Pointe Helbronner. No injuries were reported.

Two of sections of the cable cars reopened at 10 a.m. local time. The remaining section, where the cable cars were stalled, is being reviewed by safety inspectors and is not expected to open until at least Saturday.

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