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First results of gondola accident
Monday December 22, 2008 - Email this article to a friend

The Whistler incident has left locals worried and other resorts are checking their lifts.

The accident last week, when one of the towers of the Excalibur lift collapsed, appears to have been caused by ice. 

53 people had to be rescued and some gondolas plunged up to 10 metres, narrowly missing trees and buildings.

Fortunately there were no serious injuries.

Water seaped into a supposedly air-tight section, it expanded as it froze and caused the rupture to the pylon.

Investigators are now trying to determine exactly how water got into the tower.

All ski resorts in British Columbia are carrying out safety checks on their lifts.

“We were checking our lifts 10 minutes after the accident happened,” says Michael Ballimgall from Big White and Silver Star ski resorts.

alex_griffiths_400Our reporter for PlanetSKI in Whistler, Alex Griffiths, says the mood is subdued in the resort.

“It appears the accident was less to do with negligence but more factors outside the control of the resort.  There is an attitude of perseverance in town simply because with barely anything open people are taking in as much skiing as possible. However with the recent opening of the Peak2Peak lift and the surrounding publicity ahead of the Winter Olympics in 2010 it couldn't have come at a worse time for the resort.”

It remains very cold in Whistler with temperatures down to –20c, but there is still very little snow and not much open.

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