Cable car riders have been dramatically and successfully rescued after being terrifyingly trapped over the German city of Cologne when a gondola collided with a pillar.
Dramatic photos have emerged on social media showing rescue operations as around 100 horror-stricken people, including children, had to be lowered to safety by ropes.
Authorities say 32 of the cars were operating on the line at that time, which travels 50 ft. above the River Rhine when the crash happened. Transport and fire department officials confirmed that as many as 100 passengers of all ages, including little children were left stranded.
One photo even shows a small child horrifyingly dangling from one of the cable cars as he is gripped by a man. Witnesses shared that fire crews were using a mobile crane to lift the stranded passengers down to safety.
The terrifying incident happened around 3:30 p.m. local time on Sunday. No injuries have been reported so far. The cable cars are a popular mode of transport among locals, and they were brought to a halt when one hit the pillar, leaving passengers holding their breath and waiting helplessly for rescue to arrive above the German city.
The Mayor, Henriette Reker, praised passengers for their “courage and patience” during the rescue operation, which took several hours to successfully complete. She said: “They are in the best hands at the Cologne Fire Brigade. Something like this has never happened before.”
The cable car manager Thomas Miebach echoed the mayor’s statement that it was the first accident “of its kind in 50 years.” He also issued an apology to riders and promised that an investigation is underway to establish the cause of the problem, and if there is anyone who should be accountable to what could have been a fatal accident for a lot of passengers.
The cableway over the Rhine has been in operations since 1957 and is a popular tourist attraction, as well as a convenient means of transport for locals over the river. There were reports of people speculating that high winds may have caused an auxiliary cable to wrap around one of the cars.