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Blackcomb Gondola accident

post #1 of 119
Thread Starter 
Apparently one of the towers near the bottom is leaning. doesn't sound like any serious injuries, but a number of people have to be rescued out of cars. There is a thread on subject on TGR.
post #2 of 119
News article here

post #3 of 119
Wow....scary stuff.
post #4 of 119
Yikes. What makes that happen? Towers don't usually snap in two, and that tower appears to be snapped in two.
post #5 of 119
The tower looks like it is assembled in two pieces with a connecting flange and is snapped off at the connection. Could be over torqued bolts, under torqued bolts, corrosion, metal fatigue...........
post #6 of 119
I rode that thing on Friday!
post #7 of 119
Makes you want to rush out and get on that Peak to Peak gondola doesn't it? It's really high up in the air!
post #8 of 119
I imagine there'll be a few jitters on that high, high Peak-to-Peak ride.

Check-out the comments on Cirquerider's CTV link.

Those Canuks don't spare the rod. Little Judy got flamed crispy.
post #9 of 119
That is bizzare!

post #10 of 119
The article said the tower snapped.

In the photo above, there appear to be 2 sections of the tower(one fallen beside the other) but the separation is clean. Can't see how that could happen, unless the rivets just sheared-off due to stress and cold.
post #11 of 119
Originally Posted by Cirquerider View Post

post #12 of 119
Now how the hell does something like this happen?
post #13 of 119
Maybe a weld failed. The tower has likely been subjected to zillions of cycles of fatigue by now.
post #14 of 119
Scary, but it's impressive to me that a lift tower can literally break in half without anything too catastrophic happening, although I suppose it depends on how far apart the towers are (but IIRC, the next tower up is quite a ways).

Glad nobody was hurt too badly.
post #15 of 119
Those gondola towers appear to be two sections to get the height needed. They look to be flanged and bolted. The flanges are welded to the pipe that makes the vertical sections. Possibly either one bolt broke, then the stress on the remaining bolts was too much and they broke one by one, or maybe the weld wasn't make properly between the flange and the pipe, and the weld let go. This is a pic of a high pressure pipeline flange, but it looks something like the flange used on lift towers...the towers will have fewer bolts, but they'll have gussets to stiffen the attachment.
post #16 of 119
This article seems to be a bit more complete.

How'd you like to be standing at the bus shelter when a cabin crashes into the roof? That'd make a turtle jump!
post #17 of 119
post #18 of 119
Terrible - this has got to be a huge embarrassment for the resort.

Glad no one was hurt! They need to get that thing fixed ASAP
post #19 of 119
An inspection should have detected a stressed and/or damaged assembly. Some evidence of potential failure should have seen before this could happen.

post #20 of 119

Hope they get things right b-4 the Olympics.

That's kinda scary, but, most skiers are thrill seekers. Probably some got a kick out of it.

Yikes mon.
post #21 of 119
Just looking at the "break" - is it possible that after the initial problem, to get the top section down safely, they cut it?

Edit: no, I take that back, having looked at the photo from last night again

(Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)
post #22 of 119
Another reason not to ski on Blackcomb.....

I was on the Whistler Creek chair the night it failed Dec 1995 (???), while I was in no way hurt, it was a scary and tragic evening.

Another good reason not to download!
post #23 of 119
I wonder what the evacuation plan is for the P2P? Helicopter?

I realize this has nothing to do with it but....
post #24 of 119
Here is forum discussion from ski lift professionals.

My personal comment, if this turns out to be a tower weld failure, then all welds on the ski lift will have to be inspected or replace the entire lift. One or the other. Also given the cable may have made contract with sharp edges on the towers or the ground, the entire cable probably needs to be replaced. Big job replacing a cable and load testing a lift even in warm weather. They usually use barrels of water to load test a lift in the summer. That water may turn to ice before completing a load test in the winter.

Different subject: I also would like to know what the evacuation plan is for the new P2P lift before I decided to ride it. Bad weather means helicopters don't always fly.
post #25 of 119
So from the picture, it looks like the flange is missing from the lower half of the tower pole. If it's still attached to the upper half that is now on the ground, sounds like the flange weld failed. Be interesting to know why. I don't think it was a torsion (twisting) failure and a shear failure is unlikely, so we're left with some sort of axial failure. What the heck could do that?

EDIT: someone on the skilifts forum suggested ice, which sure as heck could have popped the top half like a cork....
post #26 of 119
Looking at those bolts makes me think of the Minneapolis I-35 bridge collapse.
post #27 of 119
Originally Posted by WILDCAT View Post
An inspection should have detected a stressed and/or damaged assembly. Some evidence of potential failure should have seen before this could happen.

True. Most welds are X-Rayed to insure non- failures. How often are inspections done? On the other hand,equipment can fail without warning even after inspections.
post #28 of 119
timing sucks for this - ramping up for the busy season and Christmas week. Wonder how long this will be out ...
post #29 of 119
The Globe and Mail is reporting :

Ice build-up after an extreme cold snap caused a gondola tower at the Whistler-Blackcomb ski resort to collapse...

Water had seeped into the tower where two of its parts are spliced together, the resort operator said in a statement Wednesday. The cold snap had caused the ice to build up and rupture the splice, an "extremely unusual situation referred to as ice-jacking"
So, water got in between the two sections and then did the expansion thing when it froze.
post #30 of 119
I dont think there ever was a flange, they seem to have been butt welded. Welds failed, things came crashing down....very lucky there wasnt more damage and or injury.
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