Seven people including four members of a family were killed after a tree fell on a cable car wire at the ski-resort of Gulmarg in Kashmir on Sunday. Due to high winds in the area, a tree fell on the cable car, more famously called ‘Gondola’, snapping the wire carrying it. As a result, the cable car fell to the ground from a height in the initial stretch of the Gondola ride.

Among those killed were Jayant and Manisha Andraskar and their young daughters Anagha and Janhvi. Belonging to Shalimar Bagh in Delhi, the Andraskars were in Jammu and Kashmir for a family holiday. While one of the two children was in class 1, the other was studying in playschool. Jayant, who was with his family in Kashmir since June 22, had written “feeling peaceful” with Manisha Andraskar, as his last message on his Facebook profile.

The others three people who lost their lives in the accident have been identified as Mukhtar Ahmad, Jahangir Ahmad and Farooq Ahmad Chopan who belonged to Kashmir. Two others – Tariq Ahmad and Ajaz Ahmad from Pachhar – were injured and taken to a hospital in Srinagar. Over 150 people who were using the ropeway when the incident took place have been rescued.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has expressed grief and shock over the incident. She has also announced Rs 5 lakh ex-gratia compensation for those who died in the accident. A high-level probe has been ordered into the accident.

Lashing out at the authorities, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah questioned why the cable car service had not been shut down as a precautionary measure because of high winds. “What terrible news,” he tweeted. “…it begs the question as to why the cable car operations weren’t suspended in high winds. That’s a laid down SOP [standard operating procedure],” he said.

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