Tourists airlifted to safety after Swiss cable car breaks down

Tourists airlifted to safety after Swiss cable car breaks down

270 people have been evacuated from a cable car in the resort of Glacier 3000 in Canton Vaud, after a technical fault left them suspended in mid-air. The emergency services used helicopters to airlift the passengers from the top of the ski resort back down to the halfway station.

Glacier 3000 cable car breaks down

Officials working for Glacier 3000 confirmed that the cable car that runs between the half station at Cabane and the summit at Scex Rouge broke down at 11am on July 20. The car was in mid-passage when an electrical fault left the 270 passengers on board stranded in mid-air at between 2.525 and 2.971 metres above sea level.

Luckily, the gondola was able to be winched back to the top station with the help of emergency backup systems. Now back at the top station, workers looking to fix the cable car concluded that repairs could not be completed quickly, meaning the 270 passengers were stranded at the top station.

Therefore, the decision was made to call in the emergency services. At around 1pm, a call was made to Air Glaciers, which sent two helicopters to help ship the passengers from the top to the middle station, so that they could then use the functional cable car to reach the valley floor. 

All tourists safely evacuated by Air Glaciers helicopters

The two aircraft made a total of 54 flights and were successful in evacuating all passengers. Speaking to Blick, the air rescue service said the whole operation took an hour and a half, and no injuries have been recorded.

For their part, the head of Glacier 3000 Bernhard Tschannen said that the incident occurred because a frequency converter providing energy to the cable car had stopped working. Engineers are still working to fix the fault, meaning the resort will remain largely closed. They hope that operations will resume at some point on July 21.

Thumb image credit: MyImages - Micha /

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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Jascha Kegelban 10:36 | 22 July 2023

TISSOT is very unhappy. What a waste of marketing funds.