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Rescue ops end; 3 dead, 60 safe

Rescue ops end; 3 dead, 60 safe
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Deoghar (Jharkhand): Attempts to rescue cable car passengers stranded for over 46 hours in Jharkhand's Deoghar district ended Tuesday afternoon with a tragedy as a 60-year-old woman fell to her death as she was being winched up from a helicopter, raising the toll to three.

However, all other tourists, numbering 60, stranded since Sunday 4 pm in cable cars after a ropeway malfunction which resulted in trolleys colliding at Trikut hills, were successfully evacuated by Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopters.

Fourteen of the last remaining 15 tourists, who were trapped mid-air for more than 40 hours, were rescued during the day.

"Of the remaining 15 people trapped in cable cars overnight, 14 were rescued while a woman fell off the chopper during the course of the operation," Additional Director General of Police R K Mallick said from the spot over phone.

Deoghar Civil Surgeon C K Shahi said that the woman, identified as 60-year-old Shobha Devi, was declared dead on being taken to a hospital. It was unclear whether the harness on her or the rope which was being used to pull her snapped, resulting in her fall and eventual, death.

Mallick said that the rescued people were sent to hospitals, where they will be examined.

Three people have died so far, including two tourists who fell to their deaths as they were being winched up from helicopters on Monday and Tuesday during botched rescue attempts, while 12 injured people are undergoing treatment at hospitals. The rescue operation was conducted jointly by the IAF, Army, Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the district administration. Food and water were supplied to the stranded people using drones.

Chief Minister Hemant Soren has ordered a high-level probe into the incident.

The area which boasts of the famous Trikutachal Mahadeva Temple and the hermitage of Sage Dayananda, Trikut hills has several peaks, with the highest at 2,470 feet above the sea level.

The Trikut ropeway, according to the Jharkhand tourism department, is India's highest vertical ropeway. It is around 766-metre long.

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