Add another story to the annals of claustrophobic nightmares: 20 people trapped overnight in a gondola suspended 330 feet in the air. The gondola was headed up Tegelberg Mountain in southern Germany, within sight of Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany’s most famous fairytale castle.
Image: Márcio Cabral de Moura/Flickr
The passengers of the 130-square-foot gondola experienced a sudden halt as two paragliders – a 54-year-old pilot and a 35-year-old passenger – crashed into the cables that suspended it in the air. The gliders suffered only minor injuries.
A second gondola, lower down the mountain, was halted as well, but passengers there could be evacuated by rope later that evening. Tourists stranded on the top of Tegelberg were also swiftly airlifted back down. It was high winds that kept emergency services from executing a quick rescue of the 20 unfortunate people – ranging in age from four to 75 – dangling above the rocky precipice. It must have been a harrowing 17 hours indeed. According to AP (via MySanAntonio):
A mountain rescue specialist was lowered into the gondola late Friday… providing enough food and clothing to keep the trapped tourists warm and fed through the night. He also stayed with the tourists.
Huh… we wonder if they sipped mulled wine and munched on pfeffernüsse in there as their rescuer/companion regaled them with tales of Alpine rescues past. Ok, we’d take this over being trapped in an elevator any day.