SEVENTY tourists were trapped on New Year’s Day hanging high above Barcelona in Montjuic Teleferico cable cars until the fire service arrived to rescue them.
Due to a mechanical failure the 70 tourists, travelling in 14 cable cars, had to wait until the auxiliary engine linking the cars with the three stations over a total distance of 750 metres could be activated.
The Head of the Fire Service, Pere Roca, explained that the auxiliary engines are in place to enable the cabins to reach the stations, albeit at a slower pace. The cable car service was reopened in May 2007 after extensive modernization work had taken place.
No passengers were injured in the incident, although four needed to be evacuated by crane, the rest were able to leave under their own steam. Several complained later that although they had been offered their money back on the ticket, it did not really compensate for the time spent with no information, hanging in the air in a cold cable car. The mountain at Montjuic is 173 metres above sea level.
The Barcelona Metropolitan Transport Services have announced that the service will be closed for at least two days, while the incident is investigated. At the moment the reasons for the mechanical failure are unknown.
Montjuic is a popular tourist area in Barcelona, housing the Olympic Stadium, the San Jordi Palace and the ‘Poble Espanyol;’ a recreation of typical Spanish village streets and squares built in 1929, still packed with bars, restaurants and attractions.