Skiers Pulled From Gondolas After Tower Collapses

12 injured in accident at Canada's Whistler
By Sarah Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 17, 2008 9:03 AM CST
Crews work at the scene after a gondola support tower partially collapsed at Blackcomb Mountain in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada, on Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2008.    (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck)
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(Newser) – Twelve people were injured and dozens more were stranded for hours after a gondola support tower collapsed yesterday at a British Columbia ski resort, the Vancouver Sun reports. A rep for the Whistler Blackcomb resort—which is sharing 2010 Winter Olympics duties with Vancouver—said they don't know why the tower separated from its base. One rider described "a really big jolt" before the cars stopped.

The Excalibur Gondola, which starts at Whistler Village and goes partway up Blackcomb Mountain, was installed in 1994 and isn't part of the Olympics transportation plan. While none of yesterday's injuries were serious, 53 skiers and snowboarders had to wait for hours before being helped to the ground by rescue crews using ladders. The resort and a state agency are investigating the accident.