Tourists trapped overnight on French Alps cable car

Tourists trapped overnight on French Alps cable car

Rescuers in the French Alps resumed efforts early this morning to bring down tourists trapped overnight in a series of cable cars.

Forty-five people spent Thursday night suspended above the glaciers of Mont Blanc at an altitude of almost 12,500ft. 

They were among 110 people initially trapped when the cable cars broke down on Thursday afternoon.

 It is believed that the cars stopped after cables became tangled in high winds.

Sixty-five people were evacuated by helicopter late yesterday but the rescue operation had to be suspended when night fell and clouds hampered visibility.

"We were forced to suspend operations for safety reasons," Georges Francois Leclerc, prefect of the Haute-Savoie department, told the BBC

"We hope to get everyone on Friday morning," he said, adding that it was "a very complex operation".

The stranded tourists have been given survival blankets, energy bars and bottles of water.

French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve said first aid workers had spent the night in the cable cars with those trapped.

Mathieu Dechavanne, head of the cable car company, said it appeared that cables had crossed over "for unexplained reasons" but probably due to strong gusts of wind. 

French, Italian and Swiss teams are taking part in rescue efforts and they have three helicopters at their disposal.

The cable cars connect the Aiguille de Midi peak in France, at 12,605ft, to Pointe Helbronner in Italy, at 11,358ft, and offer views of Mont Blanc.

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