ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Multiple people were stranded on the Sandia Peak Tramway after icy conditions late Friday night. According to General Manager Michael Donovan, moisture and winds caused icing to occur on the tramline, causing two tram cars to become stuck near Tower 2 around 10 p.m. Friday.
Donovan says between the two cars, there was a mix of about 21 people, consisting of employees from the Tram, as well as the Ten 3 restaurant at the peak. He says the tram cars are supplied with provisions like food and water, as well as emergency heating blankets.
Bernalillo Undersheriff Karry Koren said, “The [rescue] process has taken a while because we’ve had waves of weather that have come in, low visibility and snow and we kind of have to wait it out.”
One of the riders, Colleen Elvidge, posted photos from the tram car around 8:00 a.m. Saturday morning to Facebook saying a rescue would be “happening soon.” At 1:14 p.m. Saturday, the Bernalillo County Fire Department tweeted that all 20 occupants of Gondola 2 had been rescued and a rescue for the remaining employee on Gondola 1.
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Search and rescue crews with the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office were able to rescue the last passenger shortly before 4 p.m. According to Donovan, so far, everyone inside the tram cars is safe and they’ve been performing routine health checks.
Back in August 2020, riders were stuck in each tram car due to a mechanical issue. They were stuck for nearly four hours. In the 1970s, more than 30 people were rescued after a car became stuck for more than 24 hours.