Six children and two teachers are trapped in a gondola dangling 274 metres (900 feet) above a ravine in Pakistan after a cable snapped, with an “extremely risky” helicopter rescue mission being hampered by high winds, officials said on Tuesday.

The children, who have been stranded since 7 a.m. (0200 GMT), were using the gondola to get to school in a mountainous area in Battagram, about 200 km (125 miles) north of Islamabad, officials said.

Pakistan’s National Disaster Management Authority said in a statement that a cable had broken in the lift service and that two army helicopters had been dispatched for a rescue operation after attempts at fixing the fault had been unsuccessful.

The gondola became stranded halfway across a ravine and was dangling by a single cable after the other snapped, Shariq Riaz Khattak, a rescue official at the site, told Reuters.

“One child has fainted due to heat and fear,” Khattak said.

The rescue mission is complicated due to gusty winds in the area and the fact that the helicopters’ rotor blades risk further destabilising the lift, he said.

The military helicopters are both hovering near the stranded cable car, he added.

One security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said special services troops, trained in sling operations, are involved in this “extremely dangerous and risky operation”.

Sling operations are aerial operations where large loads are moved over geographically difficult terrain.

“All efforts are being made by the Pakistani army to rescue the stranded people in the lift.”