A rescue effort was well underway late Monday afternoon at Blackcomb Mountain at Whistler Resort in British Columbia after a tower holding up the Excalibur gondola partially collapsed. This not the Peak2Peak gondola just dedicated last week.
The Vancouver Sun was reporting online Monday evening that firefighters were rescuing skiers from the gondolas by extending ladders up to the doors. The rescue had been delayed until the tower could be secured, Doug Forseth, a resort spokesperson, told the newspaper.
The accident happened when the top half of tower number four became separated from the base, he said. The connection came lose and Forseth said, no one yet knows why.
The Sun reports that none of the gondola cars came off the cable and it is not known if any of the cars hit the ground. One of the cars came to rest on a bus shelter and fire officials using a truck and ladder began unloading the passengers from that one first, the report says.
Some 15 to 20 cars on the lower base of the gondola were reported stranded. They hold a maximum of eight passengers each, but were not full, officials told the paper. The upper loop of the gondola operates separately and passengers on that loop were able to unload as normal.
The injuries reported were "minor," Michelle Leroux, spokeswoman for Dopelmayr/Garaventra Group, the German company that built the Excalibur told The Sun.
OnTheSnow.com will update this report as more details become available.