Sea to Sky gondola incident: Investigation findings

Technical Safety BC releases investigation findings regarding Sea to Sky Gondola
Investigation confirms September 14, 2020 incident not due to technical system failure

Vancouver, BC (October 30, 2020) – Technical Safety BC, British Columbia’s independent regulator overseeing technical systems and equipment, has concluded its investigation into the most recent incident involving the Sea to Sky Gondola near Squamish.

Investigators were called to the Sea to Sky Gondola property on September 14, 2020, after operators found the gondola’s haul rope had been separated. Following an intensive review, Technical Safety BC can confirm this most recent incident with the Sea to Sky Gondola – the second in just over a year - was the result of the gondola’s main haul rope being deliberately cut and that the design, installation and operation of the technical system is not considered to be a contributing factor.

The Sea to Sky gondola haul rope, which supports the gondola cars and moves them along the length of the system, is made of galvanized steel and composed of 6 individual strands. During the incident, several of the haul rope’s strands and wires were severed, and the remaining failed due to tension overload.

Technical Safety BC worked in cooperation with the RCMP throughout the investigation and will continue to support their efforts during their criminal investigation. It is important the public understands that there are no systemic safety concerns with these kinds of systems.

“Our team has worked with other regulators and stakeholders internationally to better understand these types of events,” said Jeff Coleman, Director of Risk and Safety knowledge with Technical Safety BC. “The public should rest assured that what happened at the Sea to Sky Gondola is exceptionally rare for this industry. “

With ski season quickly approaching and the increased public use of passenger ropeways such as gondolas and chair lifts, Technical Safety BC is reminding operators to practice continued vigilance and oversight around their safety protocols and security measures.

“The integrity of these types of systems is robust,“ added Coleman. “We will continue to work with industry stakeholders to evaluate the security of their systems in light of this occurrence at Sea to Sky gondola.”

There are strict safety code requirements in place to ensure technical and public safety, including annual inspections, mandatory daily pre-operation protocols, and regular technical equipment physical assessments prioritized by a rigorous risk program.

Technical Safety BC experts are also readily available to provide additional support or guidance to operators beyond their regular inspection schedules.

Visit Technical Safety BC’s website for more information on the Sea to Sky gondola incident.

About Technical Safety BC
Technical Safety BC (formerly BC Safety Authority) is an independent, self-funded organization that oversees the safe installation and operation of technical systems and equipment. In addition to issuing permits, licences and certificates, it works with industry to reduce safety risks through assessment, education and outreach, enforcement, and research. For more information, visit
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