Rescuers who freed children and adults from broken cable car honored by Pakistan's prime minister

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan’s prime minister has paid tribute to the commandos and volunteers who rescued six children and two adults from the broken cable car where they dangled over a valley in a 16-hour ordeal.

At the ceremony Thursday in Islamabad with the eight rescued people in attendance, caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar embraced the rescuers and handed them certificates in acknowledgement of their actions, saying he was proud of them.

In televised remarks, Kakar said when he heard the news on Tuesday, he felt as if his own son was among those trapped in the broken cable car.

The rescue hundreds of meters (yards) above a river canyon in Battagram, a district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in the northwest, transfixed Pakistanis and was widely hailed for its successful outcome.

Initially, one of the youngest was grabbed by a commando attached to a helicopter by rope, while others were lowered to the ground with the help of volunteers using a makeshift chairlift built by villagers from a wooden bed frame and ropes.

The children, from 11 to 15 years old, were headed to school. Locally made cable cars gliding across steep valleys in the mountainous region are widely used to cut travel time to schools, workplaces and businesses.

One of the adults rescued appealed to the government to build a school in the area and link their village to nearby towns with a bridge and a road so people would not experience such ordeals.