Dozens rescued near Chamonix, France, after night stranded in cable cars

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Dozens of tourists were rescued Friday after spending up to 16 hours trapped in cable cars dangling high above the French Alps, officials said.

More than 100 people, including several Americans, were left hanging in 36 gondolas following a malfunction between two mountains near the Chamonix ski resort.

Italian officials involved in the rescue said around 70 of those trapped were rescued on Thursday night, either lifted by helicopter or belayed up to 300 feet to the ground. But around 30 others — including a 10-year-old child — were forced to spend the night after the rescue was stopped by fog.

Another 14 were freed after conditions improved early Friday, before the problem was fixed at around 8:30 a.m. local time (2:30 a.m. ET) and the cars were rolled back down the mountain, according to Walter Milan, spokesman for Italy's mountain rescue service.

RELATED: Cable car passengers stranded in the French Alps

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An EC-135 helicopter operated by the French Societe' Civile hovers, Friday, Sept. 9, 2016, near three cars of the Panoramic Mont Blanc cable car where tourists were trapped after it stalled around 4 p.m. (1400 GMT) on Thursday, when its cables reportedly tangled. The cable car carrying tourists stopped working at high altitude over the Mont Blanc massif in the Alps on Thursday, prompting a major rescue operation and leaving 45 people trapped in midair overnight, France's interior minister said. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
Aerial view, Friday, Sept. 9, 2016, of three cars of the Panoramic Mont Blanc cable car where tourists were trapped after it stalled around 4 p.m. (1400 GMT) on Thursday, when its cables reportedly tangled. Dozens of tourists, including a 10-year-old child, were safely rescued Friday after being trapped in cable cars dangling above the slopes of Mont Blanc in the Alps overnight. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
Aerial view, Friday, Sept. 9, 2016, of three cars of the Panoramic Mont Blanc cable car where tourists were trapped after it stalled around 4 p.m. (1400 GMT) on Thursday, when its cables reportedly tangled. Dozens of tourists, including a 10-year-old child, were safely rescued Friday after being trapped in cable cars dangling above the slopes of Mont Blanc in the Alps overnight. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
People look at an Alpine Rescue helicopter landing following a rescue operation on Mont Blanc, in Courmayeur, Italy, Friday, Sept. 9, 2016. Dozens of tourists, including a 10-year-old child, were safely rescued Friday after being trapped in cable cars dangling above the slopes of Mont Blanc in the Alps overnight. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
An EC-135 helicopter operated by the French Societe' Civile hovers over a glacier on the Mont Blanc, between Italy and France, Friday, Sept. 9, 2016. Dozens of tourists, including a 10-year-old child, were safely rescued Friday after being trapped in cable cars dangling above the slopes of Mont Blanc in the Alps overnight. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
Three cable cars of the Panoramic Mont Blanc cable car dangle after getting stuck Thursday, in this aerial view taken from a helicopter, Friday, Sept. 9, 2016. Dozens of tourists, including a 10-year-old child, were safely rescued Friday after being trapped in cable cars dangling above the slopes of Mont Blanc in the Alps overnight. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
Aerial view, Friday, Sept. 9, 2016, of three cars of the Panoramic Mont Blanc cable car where tourists were trapped after it stalled around 4 p.m. (1400 GMT) on Thursday, when its cables reportedly tangled. The cable car carrying tourists stopped working at high altitude over the Mont Blanc massif in the Alps on Thursday, prompting a major rescue operation and leaving 45 people trapped in midair overnight, France's interior minister said. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
Aerial view, Friday, Sept. 9, 2016, of three cars of the Panoramic Mont Blanc cable car where tourists were trapped after it stalled around 4 p.m. (1400 GMT) on Thursday, when its cables reportedly tangled. The cable car carrying tourists stopped working at high altitude over the Mont Blanc massif in the Alps on Thursday, prompting a major rescue operation and leaving 45 people trapped in midair overnight, France's interior minister said. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
Italian tourists, from left, Andrea Marinelli, Cristiano Gastreghini and Luca Tumani smile after spending the night in one of the cable cars that got stuck above the Alps in Courmayeur, Italy, Friday, Sept. 9, 2016. Dozens of tourists, including a 10-year-old child, were safely rescued Friday after being trapped in cable cars dangling at 3,600 meters altitude above the slopes of Mont Blanc in the Alps overnight. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
Journalists surround a tourist who was trapped overnight in cable cars which got stuck above the Alps, at the foot of the cable car service after it resumed operations, in Courmayeur, Italy, Friday, Sept. 9, 2016. Dozens of tourists, including a 10-year-old child, were safely rescued Friday after being trapped in cable cars dangling at 3,600 meters altitude above the slopes of Mont Blanc in the Alps overnight. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
A tourist who was trapped overnight in cable cars which got stuck above the Alps is escorted at the foot of the cable car service after it resumed operations, in Courmayeur, Italy, Friday, Sept. 9, 2016. Dozens of tourists, including a 10-year-old child, were safely rescued Friday after being trapped in cable cars dangling at 3,600 meters altitude above the slopes of Mont Blanc in the Alps overnight. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
A tourist who was trapped overnight in cable cars which got stuck above the Alps smiles as he walks at the foot of the cable car service after being rescued once it resumed operations, in Courmayeur, Italy, Friday, Sept. 9, 2016. Dozens of tourists, including a 10-year-old child, were safely rescued Friday after being trapped in cable cars dangling at 3,600 meters altitude above the slopes of Mont Blanc in the Alps overnight. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
An Italian police officer escorts a boy who was trapped overnight in cable cars which got stuck above the Alps at the foot of the cable car service after it resumed operations, in Courmayeur, Italy, Friday, Sept. 9, 2016. Dozens of tourists, including a 10-year-old child, were safely rescued Friday after being trapped in cable cars dangling at 3,600 meters altitude above the slopes of Mont Blanc in the Alps overnight. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
Rescuers prepare themselves on the Mont Blanc massif glacier, between France and Italy, Friday, Sept. 9, 2016. Dozens of tourists who were trapped in cable cars dangling above the Alps overnight, including a 10-year-old child, have all been safely rescued. A series of cable cars got stuck after cables tangled at 3,600 meters altitude over the Mont Blanc massif in the Alps on Thursday, prompting a major rescue operation. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
Daniele (L), 12, and his parents, who spent a night in a cable car with 33 tourists in the French Alps, leave after being brought to the ground on September 9, 2016 in Courmayeur. A total of 110 people became trapped when the cable cars ground to a halt shortly before 4:00 pm (1400 GMT) on September 8 at an altitude of 3,800 metres (12,500 feet) in the Mont Blanc region. Seventy-seven people were rescued, including 48 airlifted out by helicopter in a delicate operation as darkness fell. But with darkness falling and the weather deteriorating, the rescue operation was suspended, leaving 33 tourists, one of them a 10-year-old child, forced to spend the night dangling in mid-air. / AFP / JEAN PIERRE CLATOT (Photo credit should read JEAN PIERRE CLATOT/AFP/Getty Images)
One of the 33 tourists who spent a night in cable cars in the French Alps, is escorted by rescuers and police officers after being brought to the ground on September 9, 2016 in Courmayeur. A total of 110 people became trapped when the cable cars ground to a halt shortly before 4:00 pm (1400 GMT) on September 8 at an altitude of 3,800 metres (12,500 feet) in the Mont Blanc region. Seventy-seven people were rescued, including 48 airlifted out by helicopter in a delicate operation as darkness fell. But with darkness falling and the weather deteriorating, the rescue operation was suspended, leaving 33 tourists, one of them a 10-year-old child, forced to spend the night dangling in mid-air. / AFP / Jean-Pierre CLATOT (Photo credit should read JEAN-PIERRE CLATOT/AFP/Getty Images)
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"We were there almost 10 hours in the cable car," Kathy Cook, an American tourist from Michigan, told The Associated Press after she was among the first group to be lowered to the ground. "It was just before midnight when they finally belayed us out of the gondolas which was really quite an experience."

Helicopters had to fly over the cable, which was risky in itself, then lower rescuers on to an area "not larger than a table," Col. Frederic Labrunye, commander of the provincial gendarmerie, told the AP. The crews then had to strap themselves to passengers and rescue them one by one — something Labrunye described as "air surgery."

The cable cars joined the mountains of Aiguille du Midi and Pointe Helbronner at an altitude of almost 10,000 feet. Emergency workers spent the night with the stranded stranded tourists, giving them blankets, warm clothing and food.

Mathieu Dechavanne, president of the company running the cable cars, said a tow cable crossed over the main support cable in three places — a common occurrence — but this time it stalled the cars because the tangles couldn't immediately be fixed at all three points.

"This worked in two places, but unfortunately not in the third, and taking into account the fact that time was passing and in line with procedures, we decided to alert our emergency services to carry out a helicopter rescue," he said.

Some of the people were trapped for 16 hours, authorities confirmed.

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