The Sea to Sky Gondola was sabotaged again in September, finds a report by B.C.’s independent regulator overseeing technical systems and equipment.
In a report Friday, Technical Safety B.C. confirms that the most recent incident of damaged cables in September — the second in just over a year — was the result of the gondola’s main haul rope being “deliberately cut.”
The agency also said that the design, installation and operation of the technical system is not considered to be a contributing factor.
The Sea to Sky gondola haul rope, which supports the gondola cars and moves them along the length of the system, is made of galvanized steel and composed of six individual strands, the report says.
“During the incident, several of the haul rope’s strands and wires were severed, and the remaining failed due to tension overload,” the report says.
The RCMP is continuing with a criminal investigation.
On Sept. 14, authorities were called out at 4 a.m. to the popular tourist attraction for a report of a vandal or vandals cutting the main cable. At the time, RCMP said it was believed to be a deliberate cut.
The gondola has 40 cars — 39 that carry passengers and one for workers. Six cars were parked at the top and bottom stations at the time the main cable was cut.
No one was in the area at the time of the incident and no injuries were reported.
Kirby Brown, the gondola’s general manager, said his team has been through an ordeal and that the company planned to repair and resume operations.
He said it was eerily similar to the one the year before.
On the morning of Aug. 10, 2019, the gondola’s haul rope was deliberately cut, which sent gondola cars crashing to the ground. The company was alerted about the incident around 4:30 a.m.
It took six months, four kilometres of new cable and 30 replacement cars to get the gondola up and running again, and cost the company more than $5 million.
Jeff Coleman, director of risk and safety knowledge with Technical Safety B.C., said Friday that it is important the public understands that there are no systemic safety concerns with these kinds of systems.
“The public should be rest assured that what happened at the Sea to Sky Gondola is exceptionally rare for this industry,” said Coleman, in a statement Friday.
“The integrity of these types of systems is robust,“ added Coleman.
Coleman said there are strict safety code requirements in place to ensure technical and public safety, including annual inspections, mandatory daily pre-operation protocols, and regular technical equipment physical assessments prioritized by a rigorous risk program.
-with files from Jennifer Saltman