News » Whistler

Skyline back up and running

Safety authority makes recommendations, approves of new safety measures



The operator error that caused a woman to fall 15 metres from the Skyline at Cougar Mountain Adventures last week will not be repeated as the company has adopted new safety procedures and added a new launching system.

As a result the Skyline was reopened by the B.C. Safety Authority, effective midnight on Sept. 1, and hosting tours through the long weekend.

“Our operation was altered to a certain degree… and now we have implemented a new launching device as an added safety measure,” said Kevin Smith, a managing partner at Skyline.

“The launching system is the first of its kind in the industry. We were working on it with an engineer from Prince George about five months ago when we were building the massive system we have at Calgary… that provides another redundancy in safety, and also gives us control of the guest and our ability to launch themselves.

“This is something that the BCSA recognized as another level of safety, and will give the guide more control and redundancy. A third level of redundancy.”

The guide who was responsible for the woman falling by not attaching her harness properly is no longer with Skyline, says Smith. The other staff are in the process of receiving additional training on every line, in addition to bringing in new procedures and the new launch system.

According to Greg Paddon, the provincial safety manager for the BCSA in the passenger ropeway and amusement ride division, the safety issues have been dealt with.

“We put some operational requirements in place that we feel will help reduce the likelihood of further occurrences, and reviewed their operating procedures,” he said. “We had a safety officer in the field all day last Thursday with them reviewing the new procedures, and on Friday we were able to reinstate their permit.”

The status of the injured woman is unknown, but as of Friday she was still listed in stable condition at Vancouver General Hospital with unspecified fractures. The woman is from out of country, and so far has not commented to the BCSA on the accident.

The incident happened on Sunday, Aug. 26 at roughly 4 p.m., prompting the BCSA to revoke Skyline’s operating permit for that day.

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