I saw the gondola fall from the wire.. I heard screams, someone was thrown out; DOZENS STRANDED IN MID-AIR AFTER PLUNGE HORROR ON AONACH MOR.Byline: By Charlie Gall
A WOMAN last night told of her horror as she watched a cable car plunge to the ground.
Claire Mason, 25, was walking on AonachMor mountain with her boyfriend.
She said: "I saw one person being thrown out of the gondola as it fell.
"It was a horrifying sight. I could hear some screams from one young girl which was pretty distressing. It was absolutely awful."
Claire was on holiday with her car salesman boyfriend Paul Gordon Paul Gordon may refer to:
She added: "Paul was slightly ahead and saw one of the gondolas break free and strike another gondola in front of it.
"He ran to the scene and saw five people lying injured in·jure
tr.v. in·jured, in·jur·ing, in·jures
1. To cause physical harm to; hurt.
2. To cause damage to; impair.
"There was a three-year-old girl with a broken leg and an elderly gentleman who was also badly hurt."
Paul then helped free some of the injured from the gondola.
He said: "We saw what looked like someone jumping, or falling, out of one of the gondolas.
"Right after that, the gondola crashed to the ground and we ran over. When we got there, four people were out and we helped a fifth out."
Paul and Claire helped with first aid until rescue helicopters arrived at the scene.
He added: "There was a little girl aged about three and her mum who had an injured leg.
"Another man clearly had chest and neck injuries and was having difficulty breathing.
"We just did what we could along with the paramedics until further help came. "The gondola was smashed to pieces lying on the ground.
"The other gondola was stopped, hanging in the air and the people in there were shouting and screaming."
An ambulance spokesman said that a 52-year-old man and his 24-year-old son from Totnes in Devon and a family of three, including the little girl, were in the gondola and had all been taken to Belford Hospital in Fort William Fort William: see Thunder Bay, Ont., Canada. .
The 52-year-old man, who suffered serious chest injuries, was later airlifted to Glasgow's Southern General Hospital, while his son was discharged.
The crash occurred around 3.25pm and the cable line shut down automatically, leaving all the other car loads of people suspended in mid-air.
In total, 25 people were stuck in gondolas suspended in the air for up to four hours, including many families.
Ilja Kultman, 32, and her friend Susanne Talens, 33, from Ballinakill in Ireland, were two gondolas behind the car which fell to the ground.
She said: "We just felt the whole thing swinging - it was quite frightening."
Susanne added: "You don't expect to come on holiday and have something like this happen." The two women, who are originally from Holland, were stuck in the gondola for three-and-a-half hours.
Ilja added: "We tried to sing songs, but we were quite scared. I am just glad to have my feet back on the ground."
Ilja's boyfriend, Erick Degouw, was cycling down the hillside with a friend when he noticed something was wrong with one of the gondolas.
He said: "I looked back and saw one of them was swinging from left to right - I knew then something was wrong.
"Then I saw the cable come off one of the gondolas and it looked like it was almost horizontal."
Alan and Lea Gilmour spent three-and- a-half hours trapped inside a cable car as the emergency unfolded.
Alan, 47, said: "We jolted to a stop and sat there for three-and-a-half hours. We didn't know what was happening so we were speaking to friends on a mobile phone, they told us what had happened."
Lea, 42, added: "It was very scary when we found out. I kept looking up at the next cable car, wondering if it was going to crash into hours.
"I don't really have a head for heights and it took all my strength to go up there anyway. I am still shaking."
Last night, a Nevis Range a spokesman said: "At approximately 3.30pm a gondola containing five passengers derailed, approximately 500 metres from the top gondola station.
"There were 50 people in the top station and approximately 20 people in gondolas who had to be evacuated e·vac·u·ate
v. e·vac·u·at·ed, e·vac·u·at·ing, e·vac·u·ates
a. To empty or remove the contents of.
b. To create a vacuum in.
2. as soon as the casualties were airlifted."
John Davidson John Davidson can refer to more than one person:
"Fortunately, the weather was good."
The major rescue operation involved three helicopters, the Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team, and ambulance, fire service and police personnel.
RAF spokesman Michael Mulford said: "There were reports of five casualties. We heard some of the people were tipped out and fell to the ground.
"The injuries being reported include head and chest injuries, as well as broken limbs.
"The Sea King search and rescue helicopter from RAF Lossiemouth RAF Lossiemouth (IATA: LMO, ICAO: EGQS) is a Royal Air Force station to the west of the town of Lossiemouth in Moray, Scotland. It is one of the RAF's biggest bases and currently Britain's main base for Tornado GR4s. was being joined by a Royal Navy chopper at HMS Gannet There have been nine vessels of the Royal Navy named HMS Gannet, after the seabird:
"A heli-med helicopter from Inverness Inverness, town, Scotland
Inverness (ĭn'vərnĕs`), town (1991 pop. 39,736), Highland, N Scotland, on the Moray Firth at the mouth of the Ness River. was also scrambled.
"We ferried mountain rescue teams up to the site and medical staff."
ORDEAL: Tourists Paul Gordon and Claire Mason' DEBRIS: Parts of the gondola strewn strew
tr.v. strewed, strewn or strewed, strew·ing, strews
1. To spread here and there; scatter: strewing flowers down the aisle.
2. on the hillside' RESCUED: The injured are carried away to safety' AIRLIFT: Ahelicopter takes a passenger to hospital' WRECKED: The gondola which was carrying five people' The gondola (A) shot out of the station and slid down the cable, colliding with the one ahead of it and crashing to the ground' CRASHED: The cable car lies on Aonach Mor after falling from the wire. The system shut down leaving many stranded PA