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Sea to Sky gondola cable cut intentionally second time: report

FILE - A damaged Sea to Sky gondola cabin, with a cut cable lying on top of it, after it was vandalized for a second time. (Courtesy Technical Safety BC)
Summary

Technical Safety BC confirms cable was cut, not defective

Police investigation remains open, with no vandal identified

Gondola general manager: 'We will rebuild again'

SQUAMISH (NEWS 1130) – A report released Friday confirms the Sea to Sky Gondola’s cables were cut intentionally, sending its cars crashing to the ground a second time.

“In the early morning of September 14, 2020, while gondola was not in operation, the haul rope was cut while under tension,” the Technical Safety BC report says.

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“The cut was made on the downhill side of the loop from the top of the support towers. Once a sufficient number of the wire strands making the rope were cut, the rope separated under the tension of the gondola and attached cabins.”

Several cabins crashed into the ground, damaging them “beyond repair,” the report says.

“As the separated ends of the haul rope retracted, it caused damage to towers, guardrails, security systems and surrounding trees.”

The vandalism came just over a year after a near-identical incident in August 2019. A Technical Safety BC report also determined the gondola cars crashed into Stawamus Chief Provincial Park because someone cut a cable – and not due to a defect.

The gondola reopened more than six months after the first incident after 30 new cabins arrived from Switzerland and new security measures were put in place to prevent a repeat. The repairs cost millions of dollars.

Squamish RCMP have said they are investigating both acts of vandalism but no arrests have been made. The operator has offered a $250,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible.

In September, the gondola’s general manager Kirby Brown said there was “clear imagery of what happened.”

“This is one bad actor who needs to be caught and brought to justice for the protection and safety of us all,” Brown told Mountain FM.

“We now know that in addition to all the security measures we put in place before, we’re going to have to put more physical protections in place until this person is caught, he said. “We’re not going to let one person bring us or the town down. I know we will rebuild again.”