Nearly 200 government rescuers are ready for a daring 60-metre climb if passengers need emergency treatment on the Lantau cable car. The 199 emergency workers, including 179 firefighters, would have to scale towers or ascend ropes to reach the overhead cable before sliding to the roof of a stranded car. Dangling in mid-air and possibly battling strong winds, they would then have to erect equipment on the cabin that would enable the trapped passengers to be lowered to safety. 'Stranded passengers would be lowered one by one and picked up by colleagues on hills or fireboats at sea. It is an air, land and sea rescue operation,' Chief Fire Officer (New Territories) John Lau Shu-lam said, describing the Tung Chung Cable Car Rescue Strategy. Government Flying Service helicopters can fly firefighters to three helipads built on hills along the 5.7km ride, but cannot perform the rescues because of the strong air currents they generate. After three months of delays due to glitches and further testing, the Ngong Ping 360 cable car, which provides a 20- to 25-minute trip, was officially opened last month. The ride between Tung Chung and Ngong Ping crosses the largely unspoilt island to the Big Buddha. There are 112 cabins, each carrying a maximum of 17 passengers. A 1.5m-wide rescue trail has been built beneath the cableway. Mr Lau said evacuations would be carried out only when cable cars became stuck in mid-air and occupants had life-threatening conditions such as heart problems. 'Otherwise, they should remain calm and wait inside until the cable car services resume,' he said. Pointing to shortcomings, he said a rescue would rely on passengers giving the alert with their mobile phones because there was no emergency communication system, such as an alarm button, in the cars. 'In case of the worst scenario, and all the cabins become stuck in mid-air, we would need a huge amount of manpower to carry out the whole-line evacuation,' he said. 'But this situation will not happen. I am not worried about this.' A Skyrail-ITM spokesman said: 'The comfort and safety of our visitors are our top priorities. ... If visitors require special assistance ... they may call our helpline. Should there be any temporary delays in boarding and possible suspensions due to weather condition changes, we keep our visitors informed through the in-cabin communications system.' As many as 500 people were stranded yesterday for about 40 minutes, after the safety monitoring system issued a warning. Skyrail-ITM said the stoppage occurred at 4.50pm. The service was stopped and resumed after an inspection found no problems.