Hong Kong cable car reopens after 100 passengers left stranded

Buddha Cable CarHong Kong- Hong Kong's troubled Big Buddha cable car ride reopened Saturday morning, a day after a fault left passengers stranded mid-ride for 90 minutes and forced its closure.

More than 100 people were trapped aboard the cable car shortly after midday on Friday when an alarm system detected two cars were too close together and shut it down.

Staff has to push the cable cars forward by hand until the ride resumed operation 90 minutes later to allow passengers to disembark, but it was again closed while operators carried out further checks.

The 125-million-US-dollar cable car, which runs 5.7 kilometres across Hong Kong's Lantau Island to the Big Buddha monument, has been dogged by setbacks since it opened in September 2006.

It opened late after a series of problems, and nine months later in June 2007 was forced to close after one of the cars fell 50 metres to the ground during a weekly test-run.

During that accident, no one was inside the cabin, which is capable of carrying up to 17 people, when it fell the equivalent of more than 13 storeys.

After the accident, the car was suspended for six months, and the Australian company running the service was sacked and replaced by the MTR Corporation, which runs Hong Kong's subway service.

It reopened over the New Year holiday this year, but one month later a senior manager quit, claiming cables on the attraction were being strained by overloaded cabins.

He reportedly warned "if another cabin falls, it will spell the end of the Ngong Ping 360 (cable car ride)." (dpa)