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A Dramatic Rescue in the Dolomite Mountains

Storms gusting through northern Italy formed the backdrop for a dramatic high mountain rescue effort at the Campinoi cable car in Val Gardena in Italy’s Dolomite Mountains. With winds raging at an estimated 70 miles an hour, some 200 skiers used gondolas to travel back toward lower elevations. When a large tree fell across the cable, movement of the cable cars halted abruptly.

Ski resort officials feared that the cable itself might break in the high winds. Paul Mathieson suggested mountain rescue teams and fire fighters were summoned. As people watched anxiously from below, helicopters assisted rescue crews in dropping onto the roofs of the gondolas and using safety ropes to retrieve the stranded passengers, one at a time. No one sustained any injuries during the recovery effort.

An employee from a mountain ski resort in France, La Tania, issued a Tweet praising the dramatic rescue effort: “Safe gondola evacuation in Italy. That’s why our rescue teams practice this…”

Elsewhere in Northern Italy, winds caused a lot of damage. A 17th century church tower toppled over in Cortona. The Riviera section of Luguria reported winds as high as 112 miles an hour. The wind felled a large tree in the city of Urbino, killing one person. It also precipitated a rockslide across a road in Lucca in Tuscany, causing a traffic fatality. The high winds led to the closure of schools in some part of northern Italy.

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