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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 June 2007, 10:36 GMT 11:36 UK
Hong Kong probes cable car plunge
The cable car on Lantau island
The Lantau island cable car ride has been open for under a year
A cable car system to one of Hong Kong's biggest tourist attractions has been temporarily closed, after a empty car fell 50m to the ground.

The ride, on the island of Lantau, carries tourists almost 6km (3.5 miles) to the giant bronze Tian Tan Buddha.

Officials said the accident occurred during a test run on Monday night after the ride had closed for the day.

The car plunged down a slope below a support tower, Hong Kong media said. No one was injured on the ground.

Officials said the ride would not reopen until the cause of the accident had been determined.

"We are very concerned," a government spokesman said.

"To ensure public safety, until the cause of the incident is known and we are certain that the cable car can operate safely, the government will not allow it to resume operation."

Glitches

The Tian Tan Buddha is one of Hong Kong's major tourist sites, attracting around one million visitors every year.

The cable car, which cost around HK$1bn ($128m, 65m) to build, opened in September 2006. Before that tourists could only get to the site via road.

The ride has been hit by technical glitches. In June 2006, several hundred passengers were stranded in cabins during the testing phase.

Owner MTR Corp said it viewed the accident with "grave seriousness", Reuters news agency said.


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