Gulmag cable car is among the highest in Asia
Accident was blamed on unusually strong winds
At least seven people have died after falling from a cable car during strong winds in the Indian-administered portion of Kashmir.
The accident occurred Sunday in the popular mountain resort town of Gulmarg, when wires supporting the cable car were hit by an uprooted pine tree, said district police chief Imtiyaz Ahmad.
The Gulmarg cable car is among the highest in Asia, reaching a height of 1,312 feet (400 meters) at its peak.
Shamim Ahmad Wani, the managing director of the J&K Cable Car Corporation which operates the ride, confirmed that all seven passengers fell from the car during high winds. Wani says that the cable car system is inspected annually and this year’s inspection was in May.
Summer is peak tourist season in Gulmarg, located in the Himalayan mountains, as visitors look to escape the summer heat.
The deceased included a young New Delhi couple and their two children, as well as three local tour guides. Two others were injured and taken to a nearby hospital.
More than 70 passengers were stranded in the cars after operations were suspended.
Described by Conde Nast as the best place to ski in India, Gulmarg draws about half a million people annually. However, tourist revenue is down this year, said Wani. J&K Cable Car Corporation also operates ski lifts in Gulmarg during the winter.
Kashmir has suffered continued unrest and violence in the last year.
Mukhtar Ahmad contributed to this report