Skiers rescued from stuck German gondolas

More than 40 skiers were trapped in gondolas for several hours at a southern German resort Tuesday after a technical problem halted the lift system, police said.

About 100 firefighters and mountain rescue specialists helped to lower many of the trapped skiers to the ground from 30 gondolas, while others had to be airlifted by helicopter to safety, police spokesman Harald Bauer said in nearby Bad Toelz.

A technical failure in the lift system at the alpine Brauneck resort in Bavaria triggered the automatic shutdown of the whole system, Bauer said. The rescue operation took almost three hours.

None of the skiers were injured, despite below-freezing temperatures, Bauer said. Police had initially estimated that around 60 skiers were trapped, but later lowered the figure to 43.

"I was stuck up there for two and a half hours until the helicopter came to rescue me," skier Peter Gutmann told The Associated Press by telephone.

He said he was trapped alone in a gondola dangling more than 50 feet (15 meters) above the ground.