At least three people were killed and several injured in a cable-car collision at Trikut hills in Jharkhand's Deoghar district on Sunday, officials said, with a daring rescue operation involving two Air Force helicopters in place to extract people stranded on the ropeway.
About 32 people have been rescued so far, either by being winched up by the two Indian Air Force helicopters, or by sliding down the nylon ropes, more than 28 hours after the fatal collision, news agency PTI reported.
15 people continue to be trapped mid-air as rescue operations came to a halt for the day, to be resumed tomorrow morning.
National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) assistant commandant Vinay Kumar Singh, who is at the spot, said that water and food are being provided to the trapped people with the help of drones.
The incident appears to have been caused by a technical snag, an official said, adding, that the exact cause is yet to be ascertained.
The ropeway manager and other employees, staffed by private company, fled the spot after the incident, PTI reported. Two people who had jumped were seriously injured, it said.
A team of the NDRF was sent to the spot for the rescue operation, Deoghar Deputy Commissioner Manjunath Bhajantri said. The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) was also assisting in the operation.
Both the DC and Superintendent of Police Subhash Chandra Jat are monitoring the rescue operation from the spot.
Mr Bhajantri said that local villagers are also helping in the rescue operation.
"The situation is completely under control. Some people are still stuck in the cable cars in the ropeway, and they are being rescued. All tourists are being evacuated safely," the DC said, while appealing to people to not spread rumours.
Godda MP Nishikant Dubey said that he had informed Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Jharkhand Chief Secretary Sukhdeo Singh and requested for deployment of NDRF teams.
"I thank the Union Home Minister for taking cognisance of the matter immediately," he said.
Jharkhand Tourism says that the Trikut ropeway, close to the Baba Baidyanath Temple, is India's highest vertical ropeway.
The ropeway, situated around 20 km from Baba Baidyanath Temple, is around 766-metres-long, while the hill is 392-metres-high.
There are 25 carriages in the ropeway with seating for four people in each.