Computer glitch traps dozens on Grouse Mountain gondolas for hours
Grouse Mountain is blaming a computer glitch for trapping dozens of passengers on two separate gondolas for hours Friday night.
“It was a nightmare,” said Darlene, one of 38 passengers stuck for three-and-a-half hours. “It just stopped. They didn’t know what was going on, the computer was off. They were talking to Zurich.”
For hours, Grouse staff tried to figure out what was keeping the Super Skyride frozen in mid-air as things became more tense in the gondolas.
“Probably the most dramatic thing was when, on the other tram, they had the operator actually go up on top of the tram to look at something up there,” said a passenger named Vinay. He said the tram came to a halt at about the halfway point on the way down from Grouse.
Both passengers said there were children on the trams, and despite a few tears, most managed to wait patiently as crews worked to solve the problem.
Grouse staff attempted to contact the tram supplier in Switzerland, but received no answer because it was outside business hours, according to mountain spokeswoman Jacqueline Blackwell.
“It was a computer glitch, we’re finding out now,” Blackwell said. “So at that point, as they were still working to identify the problem, the maintenance team was moving the tram manually into each station.”
That stretched the operation out for hours, she said.
Blackwell said a $6.8-million upgrade to the Super Skyride tram this past fall could be to blame for the breakdown.
Crews tested it frequently for the remainder of the afternoon before allowing more passengers to board.
Despite the harrowing experience, the stuck passengers seemed to take the breakdown in stride.
“Even though you’re suspended pretty high up, it felt pretty safe. Didn’t feel too threatened,” said Vinay.
In addition to a formal apology, Grouse offered each of the 38 stuck passengers a full refund and a voucher for a free return trip.