Forty-eight people were rescued from two cars that became stranded on the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway Sunday afternoon. All forty-eight passengers, including an 8-month-old girl, were stranded for about two hours before being rescued.
The tramway system has two cars that move at the same time; one leaves the bottom terminal and one leaves the top terminal. A statement issued by Cannon Mountain its website said that both cars came to a stop roughly 50-75 feet from their destinations due to a mechanical issue that caused the braking system to engage and get stuck. The lower tram car was suspended about 40 feet off the ground from the parking lot and the highway.
Cannon Mountain area lift mechanics and ski patrol were alerted to the unplanned stop at 1:50 p.m. Just after 3 p.m., blankets were sent up to the top car to help guests stay warm. Around 3:20 p.m., ski patrol and firefighters began evacuating people, rappelling them down from the tram car.The resort reported that 41 people were on board the lower car, and seven people were in the top car. The top car was evacuated by 3:45 p.m., and the bottom car was evacuated by 4:45 p.m.
Passengers from the top car were were brought down the mountain by a snowcat at 4:30 p.m. Emergency personnel were on hand at the base and summit but no injuries were reported.
Lift mechanics are still correcting the issue with the tramway, and the mountain expects to re-open the tram as soon as possible. On its Facebook page, Cannon Mountain said the issue that caused the tram to stop operating will not be a quick and easy fix.
In January, Sugarloaf Ski Resort in Maine experienced a blown fuse that left all of the chairs above the Sawduster lift without power. Diesel backup power on the lifts allowed resort employees to get passengers off the chairlifts, but service was down on more than half the lifts for about two hours. Last year, Sugarloaf skiers experienced a more serious incident when the King Pine Quad chairlift began running backward, see Sugarloaf Has Another Major Lift Malfunction.