110 People Trapped in Cable Cars Above Alps
They're being evacuated by helicopter
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 8, 2016 2:54 PM CDT
This Feb. 19, 2003 file photo shows Mont Blanc, western Europe's highest mountain.   (AP Photo/Patrick Gardin, File)

(Newser) – A series of cable cars became stuck over the Mont Blanc massif in the Alps, trapping 110 people who were being evacuated by helicopter on Thursday, French officials said. Chamonix Mayor Eric Fournier said that "there's nothing fundamentally to fear." Fournier, who spoke to BFM-TV, said that Italian authorities were helping with the rescue. It's not clear what caused the cable cars to stop—or if there was an electricity outage, the AP reports. A local police official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak to the media, said that the 110 people got trapped "late afternoon" in the panoramic Vallee Blanche Cable Car that rises to an altitude of 12,395 feet.

It connects the famed Aiguille du Midi peak to the Pointe Helbronner and takes 30-35 minutes. The cable cars on the Mont Blanc range offer spectacular up-close views of Western Europe's tallest mountains, glaciers, and steep valleys deep below. The Vallee Blanche Cable Car is operated in the summer season, when large numbers of climbers and tourists converge on the area. Another series of cable cars takes skiers and visitors to the peak of the Aiguille de Midi year-round.