A chairlift accident in Battagram has resulted in 10 people including 8 school children, stranded mid-air at an altitude exceeding 1,500 feet. The incident unfolded at approximately 8 a.m. when the children were on their way to school, sending shockwaves through the local community.
Responding with remarkable swiftness, the Hazara Division Commissioner’s Office wasted no time in reaching out to crucial agencies including the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), and the provincial government’s relief, rehabilitation, and settlement department. An urgent appeal was made for a helicopter to facilitate the initiation of a rescue operation.
The PDMA promptly contacted the NDMA director in Islamabad, triggering a rapid and coordinated response from the Pakistan Army. A helicopter was immediately dispatched to the scene to expedite the rescue mission. With the news of the incident spreading, both provincial and federal interim government authorities issued directives to the concerned officials, underlining the need for a swift and effective rescue operation.
Interim Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar voiced his concern regarding the children stuck in a chairlift in Battagram, through social media, stating, “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. 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.”
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Caretaker Interior Minister Sarfaraz Ahmed Bugti echoed the urgency of the situation, urging an accelerated rescue operation to ensure the safety of the stranded children and adults. State media promptly reported his directives, underscoring the collective efforts being employed to swiftly address the situation.
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.
I have also directed the authorities to conduct safety inspections of all such…
— Anwaar ul Haq Kakar (@anwaar_kakar) August 22, 2023
🚨ALERT: The rope of the chairlift broke in Alai Tehsil of Butgram district, 10 school students and 2 teachers are trapped since 6 am, there is a demand for urgent #helicopter and rescue work to save human lives!#Pakistan #BreakingNews
🎥 Muhammad Waqar Khan pic.twitter.com/HJEfWNKmaw
— PakWeather.com (@Pak_Weather) August 22, 2023
ایک رسی ٹوٹ گئی دوسرے کے سہارے کھڑے ہیں، طلبا خوفزدہ ہیں، ایک بچہ بیہوش ہوگیا، فوراً ریسکیو کیا جائے، چیئر لفٹ میں پھنسے استاد گُل نواز کی اپیل۔۔۔!!!
— Mughees Ali (@mugheesali81) August 22, 2023
Meanwhile, the NDMA’s proactive stance is evident as it seeks a safety audit from all provincial disaster management authorities regarding tourist infrastructure in their respective regions. This initiative underscores the critical importance of upholding safety standards in public facilities, particularly in areas susceptible to such incidents.
As the rescue operation remains ongoing, the incident serves as a stark reminder of the necessity for rigorous safety protocols in all modes of public transportation and infrastructure. The rapid response from authorities reflects their unwavering commitment to safeguarding citizens and averting similar incidents in the future.