What started out as a pleasant sightseeing adventure turned into a nightmare for 20 people including four children. After spending 17 hours in the cable car they were finally rescued early Saturday morning by helicopters.
As the cable car was ascending up Tegleberg mountain, near the famous Neuschwanstein Castle in southern Germany, it stopped when a paraglider tandem flight crashed into its cables.
The 12 square meter (139 square foot) gondola was suspended 100 meters (330) feet above ground. Due to strong winds the rescue had to be delayed.
Late Friday a mountain rescue specialist was lowered into the gondola bringing food and clothing to keep those trapped warm and fed. The tourists ranged in age from four to 75.
Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany.
Emergency services spokesman Roland Ampenberger said those inside the gondola were "tense, but remained calm" because of a permanent radio link with the rescuers. ajc.com reports Ampenberger said, "What helps people in such a situation the most is information. It gives them a sense of safety."
mysanatonio.com reports early Saturday the helicopters began their rescue by first airlifting two men, followed by four children and then everyone else. It took about two hours to complete the rescue. There were more than 200 emergency personal on the site.
seattlepi.com reports a second cable car was coming up and was stopped at 70 meters (230 feet) above ground. The 30 people on that one were roped down safely Friday evening.
There were already 130 people on the top of the mountain and they were airlifted to the village of Schwangau.
The 54-year-old pilot of the paraglider and his passenger who were rescued Friday by helicopter only suffered minor injuries.
The police are investigating the incident.