Early signs point to possible sabotage in BC gondola accident

Early signs point to possible sabotage in BC gondola accident

Police in Squamish are investigating after the Sea-to-Sky Gondola collapsed early Saturday morning.

"We believe the cables were cut and this was a deliberate act of vandalism", Inspector Kara Triance said.

In a statement, the gondola's operators said they learned about the collapse of the cable, technically known as the haul rope, at about 4:30 a.m., when "we received an alert that the haul rope for Sea to Sky Gondola had fallen and the lift was inoperable".

"The Sea to Sky Gondola has been a great addition to Squamish's tourism industry and has been very successful at delivering on quality experiences for their guests since they opened", said Tourism Squamish executive director Lesley Weeks in a statement. "We will release updates as more details become available", the website said. "At this time the location is a crime scene, and we need to make sure it's safe".

R-C-M-P say they're still assessing the damage but early signs point to the gondola's cable being cut early yesterday, sending 31 unoccupied cabins to the ground.

"This is a criminal investigation", Squamish RCMP Constable Ashley MacKay said in an interview on Sunday.

"The ride up and down is a thrilling adventure for all ages and provides new views of Shannon Falls and the famous Stawamus Chief climbing area", according to Sea to Sky Gondola.

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The facility hosted concerts on Thursday night and Friday night, drawing hundreds of people to the gondola's Summit Lodge both evenings. "We are now assessing the damage, which will help us identify the cause of the incident".

The RCMP is working with the Sea to Sky Gondola as well as Work Safe BC and Technical Safety BC, and MacKay said they are walking the gondola line.

Police have appealed to hikers, climbers and campers in the area who may have been witnesses.

Squamish Mayor Karen Elliott said there are more than 200 people who work at the gondola, from the core team of leaders to seasonal workers.

The popular sightseeing attraction is located in Squamish, British Columbia, about 40 miles north of Vancouver.

After passengers take the 10-minute ride up 885 metres above sea level, they can go on hikes or eat at one of the food outlets.

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