Eight individuals who were stranded after a chairlift cable snapped in Battagram said they had little chance of surviving hundreds of meters above a dangerous valley.
Attaullah, a 16-year-old student who was his route to school to get his exam results, was one of the pupils stranded. He claimed he had little chance of surviving the incident.
Attaullah, who talked to the British publication “The Guardian” from the village of Alai, stated, “I was afraid, all the kids were shouting. As the chairlift dangled, we began to grip one another. I believed I was going to die.”
Several unsuccessful rescue efforts were made throughout the lengthy, almost 16-hour rescue operation while working in brisk gusts and low light. A small route that cuts between rivers and their tributaries in a tough terrain hamlet in the Battagram area makes rescue efforts even more challenging.
Rescue-related videos swiftly gained popularity on social media. In one video, a local guy climbs down from the line to save a little child. The boy is shown being pulled in a chopper by the Pakistan Army while having a belt around his waist in another footage.
A chairlift constructed from a bed frame was used to rescue the remaining passengers. Local specialists and troops climbed to the chairlift while utilizing the remaining cable as a zip line. Thousands of people gathered at the relief location till midnight and yelled “Allahu Akbar” when the children were saved.
Gul Zareen, the proprietor of a cable car, was detained by police on Wednesday, August 23, reportedly for disobeying security protocols. Each student was charged Rs10 by the cable car, while others were charged Rs20.
The adult and father of the sixth child, Irfanullah, who was brought to the hospital and is now safe, was one of the five kids who talked to The Guardian. The youngest, Abrar Ahmed, 13, said that he had frequently lost hope.
“I figured since I was the youngest, I would pass away first. After I did not see any assistance and my attempts to reach out were unsuccessful until 4 PM, I had no hope. However, after the army saved Irfanullah, I felt more optimistic. However, when it grew dark and the army halted their heli operation, I once again lost faith. When a local guy saved another youngster, I felt hopeful,” he said.
At 7:30 am, according to Attaullah, the group went for school, but the cable car quickly broke down. The first military chopper hovered above us four hours later, doing its best but failing. It really troubled me that the helicopters were unable to help us and that we would soon pass away. The other chopper likewise turned around without result.
The 15-year-old Rizwanullah claimed, “I could see death before my eyes. The cable car was dangling and without a door on one side for more than a year due to the extremely high air pressure. Everyone was in tears.
The kids said that Gul Faraz, a local, rode in a cable car with them and assured them that they would live.
“To be honest, it didn’t matter if I was calming the kids and telling them that we will survive, I didn’t see any chance that we would survive, it was a chaotic situation,” says Gulfaraz, 24, who is 24 years old. But my phone saved us while I was scrambling to find a solution.
Gulfaraz called numerous people and told them about the cable car tragedy, including his older brother, local priests, and acquaintances.
“For more than an hour, there was no cell service in the cable car. I contacted everyone I knew as soon as I spotted mobile networks, but since morning I have turned off my phone because I am getting a lot of calls,” he said.