By Travis Fedschun
Published August 13, 2019
A popular tourist attraction in Canada that saw gondola cars come crashing to the ground over the weekend after someone apparently cut the cable is facing millions in damages as dozens of cabins need to be replaced.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has said that employees at the Sea to Sky Gondola noticed a cable down and saw several gondolas on the ground around 7:00 a.m. on Saturday. After an initial assessment of the situation by employees, the RCMP was contacted and they are currently treating the incident as "criminal in nature."
"We recognize the potential of what could have been and are thankful that no one was injured," RCMP media relations officer Ashley MacKay said in a statement. "We are currently assessing the damage but our preliminary assessment suggests that a cable was cut."
The gondola operator said in an update on Monday that an estimated 18 to 20 of the 30 gondola cabins will need to be replaced, along with the main cable.
"The RCMP is treating this incident of the gondola cable being cut as an ongoing criminal investigation with damages reaching into the millions," Sea to Sky Gondola said.
The gondola operator has previously said it received an alert at 4:30 a.m. on Saturday that a haul rope had fallen for the Sea to Sky Gondola and the lift was inoperable. No one was injured during the incident.
"We are working with Doppelmayr, our lift manufacturer, to determine timelines for equipment replacement," Sea to Sky said.
The popular sightseeing attraction is located in Squamish, British Columbia, about 40 miles north of Vancouver. The attraction gives guests a 10-minute ride, rising to more than 2,900 feet above sea level and "provides sweeping views of the Howe Sound and surrounding mountains."
Each gondola car can carry up to eight people, and features floor-to-ceiling glass windows.
RCMP inspectors have been out in the past couple of days inspecting the various structures that made up the gondola. The RCMP shared a photo to Twitter of an officer on one of the towers where the cables are strung.
Another photo showed a police helicopter being used to survey the area.
Sea to Sky Gondola has not said when it expects the attraction to reopen but that it is contacting people involved with all of the private weddings and events that have been scheduled at the gondola.
"We are working to relocate as many as possible to other beautiful venues in the area," the operator said.
Planners who spoke to Canada's Global News said booking fees are being fully refunded as the gondola attempts to find other venues.