Three people were injured Saturday morning when a cable on a chairlift at West Kelowna’s Crystal Mountain Ski Resort, British Columbia, came off a tower. Around 11 a.m. a cable detached from one of the lift towers and two chairs hit the ground. Four individuals were taken to the local hospital; one of the more seriously injured individuals was taken by helicopter.
According to reports, three of the injured were mountain staff. A number of other passengers were on the lift at the time and were safely evacuated.
According to reports, an empty chair may have hit the tower, dislodging the cable. Crystal Mountain will be closed Sunday. The affected lift, which is one of three on the mountain, will be closed until investigators are certain that any risk of reoccurrence has been mitigated. The chairlift does have two fail-safe mechanisms, only one of which appears to have worked.
The last time an equipment malfunction led to a serious chairlift accident leading to death or injury in B.C. was in 1995. Two people died and nine were injured when a chairlift cable came loose from its track in Whistler. A coroner’s report found the accident could have been prevented.