Nine Die as Helicopter Drops a Concrete Block on Cable Car; A Skyride to the Snowfields Turns to Tragedy in the Austrian Alps
Byline: ALLAN HALL
SIX children were among nine tourists killed in a horrific cable car crash in the Alps yesterday.
Ten others were seriously hurt when a helicopter transporting giant blocks of concrete 1,000ft above lost its load.
A massive tub, weighing more than half a ton and used to carry the concrete, plummeted into the steel cables supporting one of the cars, sending it crashing on to the mountain.
The vibration was so great two more cars swung into each other, hurling those inside through the glass windows to the ground below.
'The passengers would not know what had hit them,' a police spokesman said.
'It was like being bombed.' At least 100 other passengers stranded in other cars had to be rescued. The tragedy took place as the helicopter headed to a mountain construction site in the Austrian Tyrol.
'It was just terrible,' one eyewitness told Austrian radio. 'There were bodies broken like rag dolls and this awful moaning from people whose limbs were broken and twisted from the fall.
'It was a terrible sound echoing through the mountains.
'It seemed there were some very young children lying there.' Police said the helicopter had permission to transport the concrete blocks, which were to be used as the foundations of a mobile phone and radar tower.
The cable cars, which hold up to eight passengers, were taking the skiers between the Rettenbach and Tiefenbach glaciers at Soelden when the helicopter lost its load.
'It must have come down with the force of a high-explosive bomb, ' said a police spokesman. …