Ski boot caught on cover of gondola maintenance rail causes injuries

Reference number
II-678855-2018 (#6950)

Incident overview

Guest attempted to board a moving gondola cabin, as designed, at the loading area of a mid-station terminal. Guest caught ski boot on the cover of the maintenance rail, located on the floor of the loading terminal, during attempt to board. As the cabin continued to move while the guests foot was trapped, guest was pulled out of the cabin, injuring right foot and left knee.

Regulated industry sector

Passenger Ropeways - Above-surface ropeway

Location

Whistler, BC

Investigation conclusions

Site, system and components

Detachable gondola conveys guests in enclosed cabins, from a lower terminal to an upper terminal. When a gondola system is designed with a detachable mid-station terminal, it allows guests to either load/unload safely at the mid-station, or travel through to the upper terminal. Gondola cabin slows to designed speeds in the mid-station terminal to allow safe access for guests to cabins.

Failure scenario(s)

  • Guest was entering the cabin at mid-station, guest stated that cabin was already occupied by 4 guests, who had loaded at the lower terminal.
  • Mid-station loading platform was full of guests waiting to load the gondola. 
  • Maintenance rail and maintenance rail cover, had a slightly raised elevation from the terminal floor at the mid-station loading area.
  • Guest was in ski boots when the attempt was made to enter gondola cabin at midstation

Facts and evidence

  • Footage obtained from CCTV showed a busy, mid-station terminal.
  • Footage obtained from CCTV showed no operating attendant was in immediate area of guest at time of incident
  • Statement from guest confirmed the gondola cabin she attempted to enter had 4 people already seated, these people had loaded gondola at the lower terminal.
  • Observations made during site visit confirmed the maintenance rail and maintenance rail cover, located on the at mid station had, a slightly raised elevation from the mid station , loading area.
  • Guest was in ski boots.

Causes and contributing factors

It is likely that due to a misloading of the gondola cabin, the guests ski boot caught between the raised maintenance rail, and cover, and the underside of the gondola cabin. As no stop of the gondola was initiated, it is probable the moving gondola cabin generated enough force to injure the guest, when her ski boot became wedged between the maintenance rail and the underside of the gondola cabin.

Impact

  • Injury
    • Qty injuries: 1
    • Injury description: One person sustained a non-weight bearing right ankle injury, and a weight bearing knee injury on the left side.
    • Injury rating: Moderate

Damage

  • Damage description: N/A
  • Damage rating: None
  • Incident rating: Moderate