Official safety report confirms Sea to Sky Gondola cable cutting was sabotage

Oct 30 2020, 7:34 pm

British Columbia’s independent regulator that oversees technical systems and equipment has concluded its investigation into the most recent incident involving the Sea to Sky Gondola near Squamish.

At 4 am on September 14, Squamish RCMP responded to a call from the Sea to Sky Gondola security team, who reported that a line to the gondola had been cut and had crashed into the mountain. Squamish RCMP attended, and the investigation was taken over by the Sea to Sky General Investigations Section (GIS).

Now, after what it said was an “intensive review” of the most recent incident, Technical Safety BC confirmed the incident “was the result of the gondola’s main haul rope being deliberately cut,” and that the design, installation and operation of the technical system is not considered to be a contributing factor.

“Our team has worked with other regulators and stakeholders internationally to better understand these types of events,” said Jeff Coleman, Director of Risk and Safety knowledge with Technical Safety BC. “The public should rest assured that what happened at the Sea to Sky Gondola is exceptionally rare for this industry.”

Following the first incident last year, operators installed a new cable, replaced all 30 cabins, and repaired the towers damaged from the force of the snap. The reconstruction cost was covered by insurance.

The attraction near Squamish had its grand reopening in early February 2020 after a six-month-long rebuild.

But even with new security measures in place following last year’s incident, vandals were able to cut the line again.

The haul rope, which supports the gondola cars and moves them along the length of the system, is made of galvanized steel and is composed of six individual strands.

“The integrity of these types of systems is robust,” added Coleman. “We will continue to work with industry stakeholders to evaluate the security of their systems in light of this occurrence at Sea to Sky gondola.”

The report found that during the 2020 incident, several of the haul rope’s strands and wires were severed, and the remaining failed due to tension overload.

Technical Safety BC also produced a similar report after the first incident that occurred in August 2019.

Last month, a $250,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the incidents was announced.

The culprits responsible for the 2019 incident still haven’t been caught, either.

Information can be provided directly to police, to the Police Gondola Information Line at 1-604-892-6122, or through the Police Gondola email. Tips can also be left anonymously online.

Eric ZimmerEric Zimmer

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