Squamish RCMP say someone deliberately cut the cable of the Sea-to-Sky gondola in Squamish, B.C. overnight. (Squamish RCMP )

Cable snaps, B.C. tourist gondola plunges, sabotage suspected

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Police continue to investigate what appears to be a terrifying potential act of sabotage in British Columbia that the RCMP say would have had “catastrophic” results had the timing been different

The RCMP believe someone deliberately cut the cable of the Sea-to-Sky gondola along Highway 99 in Squamish, causing 30 gondola cars to crash to the ground around 4 a.m Saturday morning.

Hikers camping in the area say they were woken by loud banging and sounds of metal scraping.

The gondola, which was not operating at the time, normally carries up to 240 passengers in the 30 cars on a 10-minute trip from the base to the summit 885 metres above sea level.

The Sea-to-Sky gondola in normal times, when it carries up to 1,500 and 3,000 guests a day during the summer. (CBC)

Between 1,500 and 3,000 guests visit the gondola each day during the summer season.

“We believe the cables were cut and this was a deliberate act of vandalism, ” said Inspector Kara Triance of Squamish RCMP told CBC News, adding that had people been on board the gondola, the results could have been “catastrophic.”

The gondola trip gives visitors a views over Howe Sound and is a major tourist attraction in B.C.

“[The experts] know the difference between a compromised cable and something that would be cut deliberately,” Triance said.

The Sea to Sky’s two-kilometre cable snapped around 4 a.m. on Saturday. (Deborah Goble/CBC)

She said in order to access the cable, the perpetrator could have hiked the trail underneath the gondola and climbed up one of the maintenance poles on the route, which have ladders attached.

“They put themselves in extreme jeopardy, not only the nature of the action of

The cable measures 55 millimetres in diameter and is made up of six strands. It regularly transports several tonnes when the gondola cars are loaded and is made to withstand most weather events.

“We just did our maintenance on the line very recently and it was a big, thick, beautiful healthy rope,” said Kirby Brown, Sea-to Sky’s general manager, who called the event “incredibly unusual”

With files from CBC, CP, Global, Huffington Post

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