Death toll in Jharkhand cable car mishap climbs to 3

Death toll in Jharkhand cable car mishap climbs to 3

Deogarh/Ranchi, April 12, 2022

The death toll in Jharkhand's Deoghar cable car accident climbed to three after a person fell down from a helicopter while being airlifted on Monday evening.

The accident occurred on Sunday evening after two cable cars in a ropeway collided with each other at Trikut hills in Deoghar district. The Indian Air Force (IAF) was called in for the rescue operations.

Earlier, at least two people were declared dead and several others received injuries in the mishap.

Acting on the request of the state government, the IAF deployed one Mi-17 and one Mi-17 V5 helicopter early in the morning. The IAF contingent also has a component of IAF Garud Commandos to conduct the operations.

"A recce was conducted by one of the helicopters in the morning and operations are underway in coordination with the district administration and NDRF," Air Force said.

"The exact cause of the mishap would be ascertained only after an investigation. The focus currently is on rescuing the people stuck on the ropeway," said sources.

Trikut ropeway is one of the highest vertical ropeways and has a maximum lens angle of 44 degrees. It has been built some 20 km from Baba Baidyanath Temple and is about 766-metres-long. The Trikut hill is 392-metres-high. The ropeway has 25 cabins and each can seat four people.

Chief Minister Hemant Soren has expressed deep sorrow over the accident. Talking to reporters at Ranchi airport, he said that after the accident, relief and rescue work is being carried out on a war footing. Efforts are being made by NDRF and rescue teams to rescue people safely and the government is closely monitoring the situation.

On Monday, Jharkhand's Disaster Management Minister Banna Gupta, Tourism Minister Hafizul Ansari also reached the spot. Local MP Nishikant Dubey, Deputy Commissioner of the district Manjunath Bhajantri and many high officials were present at the spot since Sunday evening.

Later in the day, the IAF said that it had today, in close coordination with the NDRF, the local administration and the Army, completed the rescue of the stranded persons from the Trikut Hills Ropeway Service in Jharkhand's Deoghar district.

The IAF utilised two Mi-17V5, one Mi-17, one Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) and one Cheetah to fly more than 26 hours towards this effort. Having been inducted in the early hours on Monday, IAF carried out an initial recce for preparations towards an operation which presented unique challenges, it said.

The contingent included five Garud commandos of the IAF, who had the daunting task of climbing onto the stranded trolleys of the cable car, while being attached to the helicopter's winch cable, accessing it from outside, strapping up each survivor individually and getting them winched up and into the helicopter hovering overhead.

Smaller children were carried up to the helicopter by the Garuds themselves. The helicopter crew was faced with their own challenges where they had to maintain a steady hover, with practically no visual reference, in conditions of strong winds in the hilly terrain.

The crew went from one trolley to the next to carry out their task, which was as risky for the crew as it was for the survivors.

The operation, spread over two days, also saw two unfortunate incidents wherein, despite best efforts, the survivors could not be rescued safely due to the inherently difficult nature of the rescue operation, the IAF.

"The IAF deeply regrets the loss of lives of these two individuals and expresses its deepest condolences to their families. The IAF reaffirms its commitment to providing support, succour and relief to our citizens always and every time," it said.

IANS

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