Cables on B.C.'s Sea to Sky Gondola deliberately cut for 2nd time, attraction says
VANCOUVER -- The cables on the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish, B.C., have been cut for a second time.
Mounties say they were contacted by the attraction's security team at about 4 a.m. Monday and are investigating the damage in partnership with the West Vancouver Police Department and the Integrated Police Dog Services.
"This is a deliberate cut, this was not an accident," Squamish RCMP Sgt. Sascha Banks told reporters hours later.
"This was done by someone, or a group of individuals, who cut the gondola cable similar to last year."
A notice posted to the attraction's website Monday morning calls the incident an "act of vandalism," and says the main cable was cut.
"No staff or guests were on the line. We are working with the RCMP and our efforts are focused on the well-being of our staff at this time," the notice says.
"The gondola will be closed until further notice."
Just over a year ago, lines at the Sea to Sky Gondola were deliberately cut, sending the attraction's cable cars crashing to the ground. About 75 staff members were laid off at the time as a result.
Mounties say the investigation into that incident is still ongoing, adding they're looking into whether the two are connected.
The gondola reopened in February after more than $5-million in repairs, then temporarily closed due to COVID-19 in March. The attraction reopened with new safety measures in May.
At the February re-opening, gondola management touted enhanced security measures, including cameras, sensors and a very loud alarm.
A few weeks ago, campers in the area heard the alarm activated in the middle of the night.
“About two or three weeks ago, I heard a sound like an alarm ‘Meep! Meep! This is the Sea-to-Sky Gondola. You are trespassing.’ It happened, I would say, three weeks ago,” said Zoe Desjardins, who also heard the cable cars crash to the ground Monday morning.
“It was like a tree was falling and some metallic sounds. It sounded pretty bad and I was like, oh, I hope it’s not the gondola again.”
Sgt. Banks confirmed officers did respond to an alarm three weeks ago and discovered two people who had climbed one of the towers.
“We were able to identify them and at that point we didn’t deem them to be somebody who was up there at a risk to cutting the gondola,” she said. “Didn’t have any tools or anything like that that would be able to cut through the cable like happened today….but that’s definitely an avenue that we will be looking at.”
Gondola general manager Kirby Brown said he is confident the new security enhancements unveiled this year will help the investigation progress faster than last time.
“I am completely confident that compared to the information the RCMP had last time, versus this time, it’s a new world,” said. “And I think that’s probably all I can really say about that at this point in time.”
RCMP investigators will be on site for a few more days.
"We are only a few hours into this investigation and we ask the public to stay out of the area" Banks said.
"The Sea to Sky Gondola is an integral part of this community and we very lucky no one was injured. Someone in our area has seen something or has heard something and we are asking them to call us immediately with any information."
Some trails in the area, like those at Shannon Falls Provincial Park, have been closed while police investigate.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Squamish RCMP at 604-892-6100. Tips can also be sent anonymously to Crime Stoppers.