Trapped Mont Blanc cable car passengers on way to safety

Rescuers were bringing 33 people trapped overnight in cable cars high over the glaciers of Mont Blanc to an altitude station on Friday morning after the tangled cables were repaired, the cable car operator said.

Emergency workers had scrambled at first light on Friday to rescue the stranded, who included a child, after the ride jammed at 5.30 pm (1530 GMT) on Thursday.

More than 110 people were initially trapped on the 5 km (3 mile) ride between two mountain peaks at an altitude of over 3,000 metres (9,840 feet) when three cables snared.

In a statement, La Compagnie du Mont Blanc, which runs the cable car, gave no reason for the accident but said the cables could become tangled after an abrupt halt to the system or in strong winds.

Four helicopters rescued 65 people from the four-person cable cars before night fell over Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps. Another dozen people were evacuated during the night by rescuers using ropes.

The cable car connects Aiguille du Midi peak on the French side of the mountain and the Helbronner summit on the Italian border. The panoramic ride over glaciers usually takes 30 minutes to complete.