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Canada: police shoot saboteurs after mountain gondola cables were broken | Canada

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Police in Canada have launched an investigation after vandals cut the high-voltage cable into a mountain gondola lift, sending dozens of cabins crashing into the mountain site.

No one was injured in the attack on the Sea Gondola in the Sky, near the town of Squamish, British Columbia, but the incident marked the second time the cable had been disconnected in two years, and left locals fearing for the future of a popular tourist attraction.

Heavy smoke from fires in the United States has prevented teams from making a full damage assessment, but the cable car operator predicts it to be in the millions of dollars.

This is a deliberate cut, this was not an accident, Sgt Sascha Banks of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police told reporters.

Officials believe the 2km steel cable was cut around 4am on Monday, causing some of the cabins to fall from 300 meters.

The incident was captured on film by security cameras installed following sabotage in recent years, but police have not yet identified a motive or determined whether the same person was responsible for both attacks.

But the speed and ease with which the culprit has cut the cable has worried officials.

One of the crashed cabins on the side of the mountain.
One of the crashed cabins on the side of the mountain. Photos: RCMP

This individual does not care about their lives and limbs. They wanted to do what they did, they did it fast, they did it skillfully, Banks said.

The popular attraction, which opened to the public in 2014, transports nearly 400,000 tourists each year over the steep granite cliffs of Stawamus Head provincial park, for panoramic views of Howe Sound.

Squamish Mayor Karen Elliott said the twin vandalism and coronavirus crises are likely to hurt the cities’ economy, which relies heavily on tourism.

The gondola is a draw for other tour operators in the valley. A pause in operations there has implications for the community, she told a local radio station.

Although the gondola is popular among tourists, the project faced fierce opposition when it was originally proposed less than 10 years ago.

Some residents were concerned that the transformation of the park would lead to an increase in tourists and negatively affect biodiversity in the region.

The company says it is eager to reopen once the necessary parts have arrived.

These are unique and extremely rare events, so to happen twice speaks volumes about the motivation of the person who wants to bring this team, this company and this community to their knees and it will not happen, general manager Kirby Brown told Squamish Chief , a local newspaper. We will get new cabins. We will rebuild.

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