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2 dead, 15 remain trapped mid-air as rescue ops halt

2 dead, 15 remain trapped mid-air as rescue ops halt
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Deoghar: A man was killed on Monday after falling off a helicopter during a rescue operation following Sunday's Jharkhand ropeway accident, while 15 people trapped inside cable cars will have to wait out one more night before they are brought down to safety, officials said.

A woman, who was injured in the accident, had succumbed on Sunday night.

Thirty-two people have so far been rescued, winched up by two Indian Air Force helicopters, or by sliding down the nylon ropes, more than 28 hours after two cable cars collided mid-air, stalling the ropeway, around 20 km from the temple town of Baidyanath Dham in Deoghar district.

A woman was killed and 12 people were injured in the accident. The rescued passengers were airlifted with the help of two IAF choppers, Deoghar Deputy Commissioner Manjunath Bhajantri said.

Dramatic visuals showed fidgety people inside the cable cars that hung in the air against the backdrop of a rocky hill cliff that overlooked a densely-forested valley.

Helicopters whirred overhead, winching up people stuck in the gondolas overnight, after the accident.

A woman tied to a chair slid down a rope dangling from one of the cable cars, while a little girl made it to safety the same way.

Everything appeared moving smoothly until a man being winched into a helicopter began swinging dangerously, apparently losing his grip over the rope, his only potential link to life.

Seconds before he could be pulled inside the aircraft, he lost his grip and plunged hundreds of feet into the valley.

"Thirty-two people were rescued with the help of choppers, while 15 people are still trapped mid-air in the cable cars suspended at varying heights, the maximum being nearly 1,500 feet. The rescue operation had to be stopped after sunset and will resume tomorrow (Tuesday)," Additional Director General of Police R K Mallick said.

Mallick said there is heavy security deployment in the area and the rescue effort by joint teams of the Air Force, Army, ITBP and NDRF will recommence early on Tuesday.

He also said a man fell from a chopper in the course of rescue and was rushed to hospital, where he died.

According to Deoghar Civil Surgeon C K Sahi, he succumbed to injuries after falling from a considerable height.

Local BJP MP Nishikant Dubey, however, claimed three people were killed in the accident that took place around 4 pm on Sunday.

Drones were used to supply food and water to those trapped in the cable cars.

Expressing sorrow over the incident, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren said rescue and relief operations are being conducted on a war footing.

The 766-metre-long Trikut ropeway, according to the Jharkhand Tourism Department, is India's highest vertical ropeway.

The ropeway was being run by a private company. Operators runnin

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