• Kyodo

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Two cable car passengers died here Wednesday after being thrown from their gondola after the cable detached from a pulley, according to the cable car operator and local authorities.

The victims were rushed by helicopter to a local hospital but were confirmed dead due to shock from bleeding at 6:05 p.m., hospital officials said.

Local police believe that the two are Jingi Mine, 70, and his 62-year-old wife, Sachiko, from Sasebo in Nagasaki Prefecture.

The operator and the authorities suggested that the accident, which saw the couple fall a distance of some 20 meters, may have been caused by strong winds.

The accident occurred at 4:30 p.m. near the summit station of the cable car ride in the Nagano Prefecture village of Mitake.

When the cable slipped off the pulley, the gondola crashed against a stanchion, causing its plastic windows to shatter, local firefighters said.

The gondola, which had a passenger capacity of six, was descending the 2,300-meter route from Mount Ontake at the time of the accident.

About 40 passengers on other cars were temporarily stranded after the accident, but were all rescued unhurt.

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