A rescue operation has resumed to free tourists who spent the night trapped in cable cars suspended above the French Alps.
Efforts to save the group were halted last night when conditions became too dangerous for rescue helicopters.
110 tourists became stuck on the 35-minute 5km cable car trip over the Vallée Blanche at 5.25pm yesterday.
Rescue efforts saw 65 people freed before night fell. The remainder, including a child aged 10, had to stay in the cabins overnight.
The journey links the Aiguille du Midi, a 3842 metre peak above Chamonix, France, to the Point Helbronner, a 3462 metre peak in Italy.
At 11.30pm a helicopter could still be seen above the site making efforts to distribute emergency supplies and rescue remaining victims.
Speaking to a French television station during the rescue, Eric Fournier, the Mayor of Chamonix, said: “People who are stuck in the cabins are being evacuated by helicopter.
“There are no fundamental concerns. The rescuers, supported by their Italian counterparts, are implementing with speed and efficiency all the necessary operations to bring these people back into the valley.
“It has happened in the heart of Mont Blanc so, by character, it was quite spectacular.”
There was speculation that a problem with the cables had caused the breakdown.
The nationalities of those who remained trapped was not known.
There were French, American and Italian tourists among those rescued on Thursday.
France’s Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve praised the “courage” of the French and Italian rescuers.
He said: “They are engaged in a delicate operation to rescue 110 people trapped following a technical incident.”
The tourists had accessed the Panoramic Mont Blanc cabins, open from June to the end of September, from either the Helbronner in Italy or the Aiguille du Midi in France.
The two peaks have their own cable car system connecting them to their nearby villages.
The French Téléphérique de l’Aiguille du Midi connects the peak of Aiguille du Midi to the village of Chamonix, while the Italian Skyway Monte Bianco connects the peak of Pointe Helbronner to the village of La Palud, just north of Courmayeur near the Mont Blanc Tunnel.
The Panoramic Mont Blanc cable car tourist attraction linking the two countries was opened in 1958.
There are 12 groups of three cabins which seat four people each.
They are pulled by a haulage rope of 10,200 metres in a single loop.
The cabins run from the Aiguille du Midi station over the Vallée Blanche glacier and the Glacier du Géant glacier to the Helbronner station.
Although the cables sag by some 255 m, the cabins still have a clearance of some 300 m to the glacier underneath.
Click HERE for the full original article