Rescue workers in Albuquerque, New Mexico evacuated all but one of the 21 people trapped Saturday in two aerial tram cars on the Sandia Peak Tramway since at least 2 a.m., according to Bernalillo County authorities and local media.
The county fire department tweeted Saturday afternoon that a coordinated rescue effort with other agencies retrieved 20 people from one gondola and that they were working to evacuate an employee in a second gondola.
ABC News affiliate KOAT reported that rescue efforts were halted because of a change in the weather.
The tramway’s general manger told the outlet that everyone aboard is in good health and has water and blankets.
According to an alert Saturday on the company’s website the tram and the restaurant atop the Sandia Peak are both closed due to weather, specifically high winds.
Metro Air Support, part of the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, was aiding evacuation efforts, according to a Facebook livestream by the office, and was evacuating people in groups of 2-4.
The Tramway first opened in May 1966 and got new cars for its 50th anniversary in 2016. It makes an average of 10,500 trips per year, and the typically 15-minute ride goes to the crest of the Sandia Mountains. Saturday’s incident was not the first time sightseers have been trapped: in August 2020 several were stuck for four hours because of a mechanical issue; in June 1973 over 30 people were trapped for almost a full day, and said they spent the time “making up stories and telling jokes.”
Rescue operation underway for 20 people stranded overnight on Tram (Albuquerque Journal)