Austrian ski gondola crashes in Hochoetz injuring Danish family

Although dozens of other cable cars were on the route at the time of the accident none of them was affected by the accident
Image caption,Dozens of other cable cars were on the route at the time the gondola plunged to the ground

By Paul Kirby

BBC News

Four members of a Danish family have been seriously hurt in a cable car accident at the Hochoetz ski resort in Tyrol in western Austria.

Their gondola plummeted approximately 10-12m (33-39ft) after a tree fell on a support cable on Tuesday morning.

The rescue operation was described as extremely difficult because the slope beneath the gondola was very steep and hard for emergency workers to reach.

Two other people were also injured.

Police said nothing appeared to be technically at fault with the cable car route, called the Acherkogelbahn, and there was no evidence of any human error.

“The gondola crashed in a very stony area, although the rescue chain functioned very well. The rescuers were on site immediately but the terrain made it very difficult and the helicopters couldn’t get there very easily,” Michaela Burger from the cable car company told Austrian public broadcaster ORF.

The group inside the gondola included a father, his son and daughter and their uncle. They were winched by helicopter from the scene and one of them was taken to hospital in Innsbruck with life-threatening injuries.

Two German citizens in another gondola were also injured because of the vibration of the cable but their condition was unknown.

What is unclear is how a tree could have fallen on to the support cable. District police commandant Hubert Juen told the Kurier website that either a tree or branches landed directly on the bracket to which the gondola was attached.

Dozens of other gondolas were attached to the support cable at the time of the accident but none were affected by the crash.

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