Crystal Mountain closed as officials investigate chairlift accident
Crystal Mountain near Kelowna remains closed after three chairlifts came crashing to the ground, injuring four people Saturday.
Investigators with the B.C. Safety Authority and the province are trying to determine what caused the ski lift to derail.
Crystal Mountain general manager Mike Morin said investigators are assessing the damage and looking into the root cause of the problem.
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The four victims are now recovering from broken bones.
“One of them is going into surgery today, it’s a dislocated shoulder, the others, two others are broken ribs and the other is a broken bone,” Morin said.
The BCSA is an independent organization, mandated to oversee the safety of technical equipment in the province. They also issue permits.
According to the BCSA, chair lift derailments are very rare, and when they do happen, it’s usually during maintenance, not when a chair is in operation.
“Preliminary information is that there may have been an empty chair or carrier that was swinging and may have caused the [chair to come off the cable] at the tower, that may have been part of the cause,” said BCSA spokesperson Quinn Newcomb, adding that they are also looking at why the chair may have been swinging.
The double chair at Crystal Mountain has been in operation since 1967, and this is the first incident of its kind.
Morin said the lifts go through vigorous inspections at the beginning of every season and are maintained throughout.
There is no saying how long the investigation might take.
When it’s done, a report will be compiled outlining what happened in this case, and what changes, if any, need to be made to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
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