Security system

Sea to Sky Gondola’s new safety system failed in second cable cut incident, lawsuit says

Operators of the Sea to Sky gondola in Squamish, British Columbia, have filed a lawsuit claiming their new ‘state-of-the-art’ security system failed when a vandal scaled one of the towers ride and cut his cable for the second time in two years.

The lawsuit filed Monday in the British Columbia Supreme Court said the motion-activated alarm was installed in early 2020, months after cables were first severed in the summer of 2019.

The reinforced system was supposed to prevent history from repeating itself.

Within the year, the story did anyway.

“The alarm was not triggered at any time up to or during [the 2020] security breach,” the lawsuit reads.

“Due to the security breach and the failure of the alarm, the vandal was able to cut the cable which separated catastrophically.”

The company’s allegations have not been proven and the security company, Unified Systems (USI), has not filed a response to the complaint in court.

The alarm had no power on the night in question, according to the claim

The gondola company said it hired USI to design a new security system in January 2020, five months after the first cable cut incident the previous August.

“Sea to Sky … made it clear to [the firm] that safety was paramount in order to ensure that such an event would not happen again,” the statement read.

USI said it would install a “state-of-the-art, custom-built” security system to operate around the clock, according to the lawsuit. If triggered, according to the lawsuit, the alarm was supposed to activate bright lights and a blaring public address system warning intruders they were being filmed and the police had been notified.

LOOK | Footage shows a security guard narrowly avoiding being hit by gondolas in 2020:

Falling gondolas narrowly miss a security guard

Security video shows a security guard holding a flashlight narrowly avoiding being hit by falling gondolas on September 14, 2020.

The system was installed in February 2020.

In September, someone approached one of the gondola towers, climbed its ladder and cut the cable again.

The lawsuit claimed the alarm failed because it wasn’t getting enough power – or at all – at the time. He claimed the USI had more details about what went wrong, but would only be provided to the court “on a confidential basis” if the case went to trial.

The company previously said damage from the two incidents cost more than $10 million.

The suit seeks damages for breach of contract and negligence.

No arrests made

Both crimes remain unsolved.

At a news conference marking the two-year anniversary of the second incident on Wednesday, RCMP released a profile and thermal image of the suspect in one or both cases.

Investigators believe the suspect would be “extremely fit” and would be familiar with the surroundings and the tools needed to cut such a cable and escape unscathed.

Police are considering criminal charges of mischief and life-threatening mischief because a security guard was nearly killed by falling gondolas in 2020.

WATCH | BC RCMP Sergeant Chris Manseau provides information on the suspect:

RCMP provide suspect profile of gondola vandal

BC RCMP Sgt. Chris Manseau says the person who cut the Sea to Sky Gondola cable is physically fit and knowledgeable of the area.

The attraction attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, carrying passengers up a steep mountain ridge near Stawamus Head for panoramic views of Howe Sound. It’s also a big player in the $95 million local tourism industry, according to Tourism Squamish.

The company is offering a $500,000 reward to anyone with information leading to an arrest and conviction.

He has since hired an in-house security team.