LA PAZ – Eight people were injured when a tree approximately 30 meters (about 100 feet) high fell onto one of the cables of a funicular linking the Bolivian cities of La Paz and El Also, local media reported Sunday.
The incident occurred Saturday night, when a eucalyptus tree toppled over near the Quta Uma funicular station, in western La paz, and hit a yellow line funicular car.
The blow caused one of the tramway’s cables to come lose, sharply jouncing the cars that were descending toward La Paz and, in addition, putting the funicular out of service.
About 19 people were riding on the funicular at the time and they remained stranded on the tramway for more than three hours while authorities from the state-run Mi Teleferico cable car service evacuated them and reestablished service.
Mi Teleferico maintenance manager Luis Garcia said that of the 19 passengers, 14 were transported to medical centers for treatment, the daily La Razon reported.
“Of the 14, eight were identified as having bruises and two of them had bumps on the head, a pregnant woman and an elderly man, who are (receiving medical attention),” he added.
It is presumed that the tree fell due to heavy rains that have made the ground soggy in recent days in La Paz.
The funicular between the two cities is the highest cable car system in the world, with La Paz located at 3,600 meters (11,800 feet) above sea level and Al Alto at 4,000 meters (13,120 feet).
The three funicular lines began operating last year and, over the past eight months, have transported more than 14 million passengers, according to official figures.
Bolivian President Evo Morales in January signed a law that will finance the construction of six new funicular lines in the two cities.