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Rescuers free dozens trapped on one of world’s highest cable car systems


By Gerardo Lemos, CNNE

(CNN) — Dozens of people trapped in gondolas on one of the world’s highest cable car systems in Ecuador have been rescued, according to a statement from government officials Friday.

Firefighters were alerted around 4 p.m. local time Thursday of a technical failure that affected the Quito Cable Car, with at least 70 people trapped, the Quito municipality said in a statement. They launched a rescue effort in the highlands soon after.

“In total, the authorities rescued 27 people who had been suspended in the gondolas when the service was inoperative and 47 people who had been left without transportation on top of the mountain,” the statement said.

The mayor of Quito, Pabel Muñoz, said the rescued people do not show signs of hypothermia or injuries.

He also ordered to suspend the cable cars’ operation until investigations have been carried out.

Photos released by Quito authorities show emergency workers huddled in the dark, with the city mayor on site, as rescue efforts continued through Thursday night..

Those rescued were being transferred to a safe place and received medical evaluations, the municipality added.

The Quito Cable Car, also known as the Telefériqo, reaches more than 3,947 meters (12,950 feet) above sea level, making it one of the highest cable cars in South America, according to its official website.

The ride travels more than 2,500 meters (about 1.55 miles) over an 18-minute journey that offers a view of the Quito cityscape and the surrounding mountains, the site says.

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