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At around 4:30 a.m. on the morning of August 10, someone climbed the ladder on a maintenance tower of the Sea to Sky Gondola and cut a cable. Not just any cable — it was the haul rope, which measures just over a mile long and over an inch thick. It was the main cable for the world-famous attraction, and cutting it sent the entire thing, gondolas and all, crashing to the ground. Luckily, it was closed for the night.
The Sea to Sky Gondola, located in Squamish, British Columbia, Canada, has panoramic views of Howe Sound and the incredible forests and mountain ranges in B.C. It’s a popular place for weddings and tourism in general, and it sounds as though it’ll cost millions to fix.
“Our initial estimate is that 18 to 20 of our 30 gondola cabins will need to be replaced along with the main cable,” Sea to Sky Gondola said in a statement on Monday. “We are working with Doppelmayr, our lift manufacturer, to determine timelines for equipment replacement.”
— Squamish RCMP (@SquamishRCMP) August 11, 2019
The gondola is massive. Each of the 30 cars can carry up to eight people during the mile-high trip up the mountain. “We can say that it’s been cut,” Squamish RCMP Const. Ashley MacKay told The National Post on Monday. “We believe it’s a deliberate act,” because there was no “operational or environmental reason for the cord to be damaged.”
Although police remain cagey, it is not believed they have any suspects at the time of reporting. They told reporters that they would “only release a name involved in its investigation once an individual is formally charged.” RCMP are treating the incident as an ongoing criminal investigation.
Although the gondola is generally regarded as an important part of the Squamish community, Mayor Karen Elliott did say there is a “bit of friction” between locals and tourists who come to ride the gondola. Generally, however, it’s limited to parking and overcrowding. “For it to lead to cutting the cable would be hard to believe,” said Elliott.