The Bernalillo County Fire Department received a call around 2 a.m. to assist in search and rescue efforts, after a tram got stuck while traveling down the tramline, Deputy Chief of Operations Brian Rose said in a news conference Saturday.
Sandia Peak Tramway has not responded to CNN’s request for comment.
“I could assume that weather would be a factor in all that because it was cold, it was really windy, the elevation is really high up there, and the rain that was taking place last night,” Bernalillo County Sheriff (BCSO) spokesperson Jayme Fuller told CNN. “It wouldn’t be a very fun ride.”
“Been stuck in tram since 9p….rescue happening soon,” Elvidge captioned the post.
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The majority of the people stuck in the tram cars were employees attempting “to leave the restaurant at the top of the peak and go home for the evening,” Fuller said.
Rescue officials were able to reach the passengers to give them blankets, food and water to survive and stay as comfortable as possible while a rescue plan was devised, Spenser Moreland, New Mexico Search and Rescue incident commander, said during the news conference Saturday.
BCSO Metro Air initially worked on taking supplies to the stranded passengers before deciding on a full evacuation, said Fuller.
At 12:30 p.m., air units began removing one to four people at a time by lowering each individual out using a rope system from the tram car and safely onto the ground. They were then escorted to a small landing zone where they were evacuated by helicopter in small groups, Moreland said.
“Metro Air Support has picked up the final remaining passenger and our mission is complete! Rescue crews hiked off the mountain and they are almost back to base,” the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post.
“What an incredible effort by all involved! Happy New Year, everyone is safe, and we are grateful for the positive outcome,” the sheriff’s office added.