Gondola tower collapses at Whistler

Gondola tower collapses at Whistler

Credit: Andrew Pengelly, Coast Mountain Photography

Police say there were no serious injuries when a gondola tower collapsed at Whistler ski resort Tuesday.

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by Associated Press

NWCN.com

Posted on August 15, 2009 at 1:36 PM

Updated Thursday, Sep 24 at 12:36 PM

WHISTLER, British Columbia - At least a dozen passengers were trapped inside two gondolas after a tower partially collapsed Tuesday at the Whistler ski resort.

Police said there were no serious injuries, but the passengers were stranded on the gondolas as emergency officials worked out a plan to evacuate them from the Excalibur lift.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sgt. Steve Wright said the fire department was trying to reach the skiers and snowboarders on the dangling gondolas, which are attached to a long wire cable.

"They have their ladder trucks now, they're just setting up," Wright said. "We have victim services here with some of the families that have people on the gondolas."

Wright said a third gondola was left resting on top of a bus shelter at the base of the mountain.

"No gondolas have fallen. It's just the tower has collapsed partially. The line has sagged," Wright said. "That's why right now we only have two gondola cars affected."

Wright said there doesn't appear to be any danger of the gondola support falling farther.

"There's a truck supporting the collapsed tower now," he said.

The B.C. ambulance service dispatched six ambulances and an air ambulance following the accident that happened around 2:30 p.m. Four ambulances and the air ambulance remained on standby at the scene.

Health officials said at least three people have been taken to hospitals, but there were no serious injuries.

Wright said the accident took place near Fitzsimmons Creek, between Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains.

The resort will play host to the alpine events at the 2010 Winter Games.

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