Police in Canada have launched an investigation after vandals cut the high-voltage cable on a mountain gondola lift and sent dozens of cabins crashing down the mountainside.
No one was injured in the attack on the Sea to Sky gondola near the town of Squamish, British Columbia, but the incident marked the second time the cable had been disconnected in two years, leaving locals in fear of the future of a popular tourist attraction.
Heavy smoke from forest fires in the United States has prevented crews from making a full assessment of the damage ̵
“This is a deliberate cut, this was not an accident,” Sgt Sascha Banks of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police told reporters.
Officials believe that the 2 km steel cable was cut around 1 p.m. 4 Monday and caused some of the cabins to fall from as high as 300 meters.
The incident was captured on film by security cameras installed after last year’s sabotage, but police have not yet identified a motive – or determined whether the same person was responsible for both attacks.
But the speed and ease with which the culprit disconnected the cable has bothered officials.
“This individual has no regard for his own life and limbs. They wanted to do what they did, they did it fast, they did it with skill, ”Banks said.
The popular attraction, which opened to the public in 2014, ferries nearly 400,000 tourists each year over steep granite cliffs in Stawamus Chief Provincial Park to get panoramic views of Howe Sound.
Squamish Mayor Karen Elliott said the two vandalism crises and coronavirus are likely to hurt the city’s economy, which is heavily dependent on tourism.
“The gondola is a draw for other tourist operators in the valley. A break in the operations that have effects through society, “she told a local radio station.
Although the gondola is popular with tourists, the project faced fierce opposition when it was originally proposed less than 10 years ago.
Some residents were concerned that transformation of the park would lead to an increase in tourists and negatively affect the biodiversity of the region.
The company says it is eager to reopen once the necessary parts have arrived.
“These are unique and incredibly rare events, so happening twice speaks more to the motivation of the person who wants to bring this team, this company and this community to their knees – and it is not going to happen,” general manager Kirby Brown told the local newspaper Squamish Chief. “We get new cabins. We will rebuild. ”