More than 100 skiers rescued from cable car in Italian Alps

Around 130 skiers have been rescued after being stranded on a ski lift in the Italian Alps for more than nine hours. High winds hampered intensive efforts to bring the group to safety.

A 150-strong team was involved in the rescue operation on Saturday evening to rescue more than 100 skiers from a ski lift, hovering about 30 meters (33 yards) above the ground in the Italian resort of Cervinia.

Rescuers had to climb poles to reach the cables between the cable cars and then enter the cabins through a roof hatch. The skiers were then winched to safety on the ground, officials said.

The Italian resort is just across the border from Switzerland, on the other side of the Matterhorn mountain. Swiss air company Air Zermatt can operate night flights so the operation continued into the evening.

Strong winds of up to 150 kilometers (93 miles) per hour, which delayed the rescue operation, dropped sufficiently to allow the team to complete their mission.

At 8.30 p.m. local time (1930 UTC) the Cervinia social media information site reported that "the first skiers have been brought down from the gondola."

Adriano Favre, the head of the rescue team, announced the mission had finished just before midnight on Saturday.

"Luckily the wind wasn't too cold ... there are no cases of hypothermia, and everything is under control," he added.

The skiers were stuck between two points on the lift - between 2,300 meters (7,545 feet) and 2,800 meters altitude. 

bik,mm/jm,kl (Reuters, AFP)


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If you're looking for winter sport tradition in Austria, go to Kitzbühel. There you'll usually find yourself among the glitterati. If they don't actually have homes here, they usually come for the famous Hahnenkamm race in January. The course on the Hahnenkamm, Kitzbühel's local mountain, is considered one of the world's most dangerous downhill runs.


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The former mountain farming village of Ischgl has only 1,500 residents, but more than 10,000 hotel beds. From here you can reach one of the largest ski resorts in the Alps, the Silvretta Arena. In keeping with its status, at beginning and end of the season there are fitting celebrations with international pop stars at the "Top of the Mountain Concerts."


Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany

Germany's only glacier ski resort lies slightly below the 2,962-meter Zugspitze. People have been coming here to ski since 1949. Between 2,000 and 2,700 meters up there are 12 pistes ranging from easy to medium, with a total length of 20 kilometers. And above the cloud line, it's often sunny with wonderful views.


Berchtesgaden, Germany

At 2,713 meters, the Watzmann in Berchtesgaden is Germany's second-highest peak, and it has a very distinctive shape. Together with the neighboring peaks of the massif, Watzmann's Wife (on the left) and her children, the Watzman provides a fantastic backdrop for a winter hike.


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The ski resort on the Hintertux Glacier has an altitude of 3,250 meters and people can ski on it all year long. Since the end of November 2015, yet another comfort has been added: a new six-person high-speed chairlift with heated seats and a weatherproof dome. It can take 2,800 skiers an hour to the upper terminus.


Sölden, Austria

If this building looks familiar to you although you've never been in Sölden, it's certainly because of the latest James Bond film. The Ice Q restaurant, at an elevation of 3,050 meters, was one of the locations where it was shot. It combines gourmet cuisine, stylish architecture and stunning views - reason enough to make your way up to Gaislachkogl peak, even if you're not a skier.


Alta Badia, Italy

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Sestriere, Italy

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Courchevel, France

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