Some 150 skiers were forced to spend most of their Christmas Eve admiring the majestic beauty of the French Alps after a lift broke down on their journey to the summit. It took rescue crews over 2 hours to rescue those stranded.
The skiers got stuck some 25 meters above ground after one of the gondolas broke down at the Isere lift station at Chamrousse at around 3pm local time. Unable to get to the Cross of Chamrousse, which lies about 600 meters from the lift station, passengers on board dozens of gondolas spent more than two hours dangling in the air.
The incident triggered a massive rescue effort by local authorities, with significant resources immediately deployed. The station’s runway services, two civil protection helicopters, and seven rescue teams from Alpe d’Huez and Grenoble took part in the rescue operation.
It involved dropping a rescuer on the roof of each gondola. Once on top, the rescuers helped people to safety using a rope. The evacuation ended at about 5:15 local time, without any injuries. “Everyone is fine and will be on time for the New Year’s Eve,”announced local mayor, Philippe Cordon.
⛷ Grosse frayeur aujourd’hui pour les vacanciers de la station de #Chamrousse. Le télésiège est resté bloqué une bonne partie de l’après midi avant que La Sécurité Civile vienne les secourir. Les 150 personnes sont saines et sauves. 📸 @gdn_theo pic.twitter.com/29D1152ut8
— Get Actu France 🇫🇷 (@GetActuFrance) December 24, 2017
Technical units at the station are now looking into what could have caused the breakdown of the line. Local authorities hope to restart operating the lift Monday morning.