Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Blackcomb Mountain's Excalibur Gondola Tower collapse

At approximately 2:30pm PST on Tuesday, December 16, a structural failure on tower 4 on Blackcomb Mountain's Excalibur Gondola caused the gondola to cease operation. No gondola cabins came off the line. The Excalibur Gondola evacuation was completed at 5:51 pm. Fifty-three guests were safely evacuated from the lower line of the Excalibur Gondola. The failed tower 4 on the lower section was secured by a crane and Whistler Blackcomb Ski Patrol and the Whistler Fire Department immediately implemented an emergency lift evacuation procedure. The upper section of the gondola, independent of the lower section, was unaffected by the incident and was cleared immediately of guests by normal procedure.
The Excalibur Gondola was built in 1994 and undergoes an extensive safety check every year by the BC Safety Authority. The last check took place within the past six months. Each gondola cabin holds eight people. The gondola section where the incident took place is approximate 30 feet above the ground.
A full investigation is underway by Whistler Blackcomb and the BC Safety Authority. Whistler Blackcomb will release further information as it becomes available.