It took more than three hours to evacuate 53 people stranded in about 30 gondolas after a tower supporting the cables partially collapsed yesterday at Canada’s Whistler ski resort.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police reported that the passengers who were rescued were in good spirits and were met by emergency health services. There were no serious injuries reported, but thirteen people were sent to the Whistler Health Care Center.
One of the cars hit a bus shelter, while two more were left dangling when the tower collapsed. A crane was brought in to support the leaning tower and fire crews worked quickly to evacuate three cars that were the most in danger. The towers support a wire cable to which the gondola cars are attached.
The resort said in a news release that the gondola section where the incident took place is approximately 30 feet above the ground. The tower that collapsed, Tower 4, is on the lower half of the lift, not far from the starting point.
The good news is that this was not the new lift installed in preparation for the 2010 Winter Olympic games, and recently opened. The resort just unveiled a new lift connecting the peaks of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, the highest in the world at 1,427 feet above the ground.

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