Latest News

Skiers saved from dangling gondolas after tower snaps

Wednesday, December 17, 2008 , Posted by Linda at 6:28 PM

A group of skiers had a fortunate escape Tuesday after they were rescued from a stricken gondola that was left dangling over a freezing creek at a ski resort in Canada.

One gondola car is suspended above an icy creek at a ski resort near Whistler, British Columbia.

One gondola car is suspended above an icy creek at a ski resort near Whistler, British Columbia.

The incident at the Whistler Blackcomb resort, 177 kilometers (110 miles) north of Vancouver, occurred when a support tower for the gondola system snapped in half.

Tyler Noble, a reporter for CNNRadio affiliate CKNW in Vancouver, said at least two gondola cars broke away and hit the ground after the accident, both from relatively low heights near the tower that split and caused the system's heavy cable line to slacken.

"One hit a bus stop and the other hit a house," Noble said. "Another one was suspended over a creek, but everyone is out of that car."

However Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sgt. Steve Wright stressed that no gondolas had fallen. Video Watch gondola dangle in the air »

"At no time was anyone in serous risk and at no time were the cars separated from the line," Wright said.

Doug Forseth, senior vice president of the resort, said a total of 53 passengers had been rescued. He said no more people are trapped.

The section of the lift affected by the accident had 15 cars going up the mountain and 15 coming down at the time, but they were sparsely populated, Forseth said.

Three people were freed on the up side, each in a different gondola car, along with 50 people divided among the 15 cars on the down side, he said. Video Witness describes gondola slamming into bus stop »

The accident occurred at a tower that was constructed in two pieces, and the top part came away from the lower part, Forseth said. He said resort officials did not know what caused the structural failure, but an investigation would be conducted Wednesday.

Canadian Television News footage showed rescuers walking down a fire truck ladder escorting passengers from one gondola over the frozen water. At least six people were trapped inside that cabin, which was the closest to the base of the mountain, CTV News reported.

Cynthia Jennings told CTV News she was in a car halfway down the mountain when the tower snapped.

"All we saw were other cars swinging sideways and we thought we were going to crash to the ground," she told CTV News by cell phone. "I thought the whole cable system was going to come down. I couldn't even breathe."

Authorities said they did not know the cause of the accident.

"It just started really suddenly, we saw people running everywhere," Jean-Philippe Plante said. Video Watch passengers describe what happened »

Plante, from Vancouver, was visiting the ski resort when the gondola snapped. Plante said he planned to go skiing Tuesday morning, but changed his mind.

"We just went for a walk, so I guess it's a good thing because we might have been one of the people stuck here," he said.

No serious injuries were reported, but a spokeswoman for the Whistler Blackcomb resort said five people required medical attention. Three were taken to a nearby clinic and two were taken to a hospital as a precaution, said spokeswoman Tabetha Boot.

Currently have 1 comments:

  1. donald says:

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

    Betty


    http://www.my-foreclosures.info