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Eight Killed When Cable Car Plunges Into Ravine

January 14, 1989 GMT

GRENOBLE, France (AP) _ Eight technicians trying out an ultra-modern cable car plunged to their deaths Friday in an accident near the ski resort town of l’Alpe d’Huez,local officials said.

The victims, all from the region, were employed by a tourist association and the Pomagalsky construction company, based in this mountainous southeastern town.

The cable car, which could hold 125 people, unhooked from its overhead line and dropped 660 feet to the bottom of a ravine.

There was no immediate explanation why the car became unhooked from the cable, which was intact, the officials said.


Although it was difficult to reach the spot, rescue workers found the car quickly, but no one was alive.

″As soon as we got down there, we knew we wouldn’t find any survivors,″ said one fireman from the rescue team. ″They were literally part of the metal and the tubes.″

Nightfall and the other difficulties hampered the salvage operation.

The cable service was to be opened on Jan. 21 and was described as one of the longest in world at 1.6 miles. It was the pride of the 450 inhabitants of the tiny hamlet of Vaujany, north of l’Alpe d’Huez.

It would have been able to bring 2,000 skiers an hour to the village and link it to ski slopes in the 9,200-foot Petites Rousses chain and other resorts.