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Full report released in Sea to Sky Gondola cabin incident

Gondola re-opens for winter Nov. 27
full report The full report into a February, 2014 incident that saw a gondola cabin fall has been released. photo submitted

The complete report into the Feb. 4 incident that saw an empty gondola cabin fall from the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish, ahead of its opening, has been released.

The report — released by the BC Safety Authority (BCSA) on Nov. 14 — states that the incident occurred due to operator inexperience and high winds.

"(The Sea to Sky Gondola Limited Partnership — or SSGLP) lacked experience operating passenger ropeways at this particular location and there were no existing passenger ropeways operating in the same area to give SSGLP a sense of how passenger carriers may have been reacting further up the alignment," the report said.

After concluding its report in May, the BCSA granted a full, unrestricted operating permit to the SSGLP.

Following the incident, the SSGLP implemented a number of new operational procedures and enhancements to existing systems to ensure no further incidents occur, including: installing an additional wind meter where the incident occurred, setting wind speed warning and alarm values specific to local conditions that will automatically slow the gondola in dangerous conditions and installing a camera to monitor cabin movement.

"We are satisfied that Sea to Sky Gondola is safe for passengers," BCSA safety manager for passenger ropeways Jason Gill said in May.

"While BCSA is confident that effective protocols are in place on all other existing installations in the province, we continuously review standards and processes based on what we learn to see where there may be opportunities for improvement."

Trevor Dunn, general manager of the Sea to Sky Gondola, said he's pleased with the results of the report.

"We're pleased (that) the report didn't raise anything that was new, and that all these items were addressed before we opened," Dunn said.

"Part of the process of building a gondola in any location is doing a whole series of testing, and this was the result of some of the testing that we were doing," he said.

"We did learn that... in a particular north outflow wind, we definitely have monitoring that we need to do, and we've implemented a whole series of wind monitoring."

The Sea to Sky Gondola opened May 16 and has operated without incident ever since.

The gondola re-opens today, Nov. 27, for winter sightseeing.

"We've got a whole series of Christmas events coming up... (and we're) launching some brand new programs. We've got a great tube park at the top and some snowshoe rentals and some fun Santa and Christmas events up at the top with food and beverage to match, so it will be great," Dunn said.

"It will be a fun place for the corridor and the metro area to come up and enjoy winter."

For more information on the Sea to Sky Gondola's winter activities check out