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Sam Bennett

Sam Bennett

9 Aug 2023

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Banff Gondola Incident: Lightning Storm Strands Visitors on Sulphur Mountain

The Banff Gondola incident will be remembered by hundreds of tourists who were looking forward to a serene ride but instead faced an unexpected adventure. A sudden lightning storm led to a power outage, halting the Banff Gondola mid-journey on Sulphur Mountain.

Managed by Pursuit, the gondola is a renowned attraction in Banff National Park, offering visitors a chance to soar 698 metres above the ground, providing breathtaking views of the landscape below.

Immediate Response to the Banff Gondola Incident

The Banff-wide power outage caused by the lightning storm was an unforeseen challenge. Tanya Otis, a spokeswoman for Pursuit, highlighted the gravity of the Banff Gondola incident, stating, “We experienced an unprecedented stoppage to our gondola due to the storm.”

Banff Gondola Incident

The company’s immediate priority was ensuring the safety of those trapped inside the gondola cabins. As news of the Banff Gondola incident spread, some guests took to social media platforms to voice their concerns.

Despite the initial shock, Otis emphasized the company’s commitment to guest safety. After securing those in the gondola cabins, attention shifted to the guests at the upper terminal. Efforts made to provide food, beverages, and blankets, ensuring everyone’s comfort during this unexpected ordeal.

Overnight Challenges

The Banff Gondola incident took a toll on many visitors, who unprepared for an overnight stay on the mountain. Guests like Matthew and Avery White shared their experiences, with Avery recalling the exact moment everything came to a halt.

The challenges of the night were many, from finding suitable sleeping spots to accessing food. “It was every individual for themselves. Trying to find a spot to rest,” Matthew shared, highlighting the gravity of the Banff Gondola incident.

As dawn broke, a rescue strategy was formulated. Some brave souls decided to tackle the 5 1/2-kilometre Sulphur Mountain hiking trail. Navigating the moderate trek with its 655-metre elevation gain.

Banff Gondola Incident

For others, helicopters were the chosen mode of descent, airlifting them safely off the mountain. Emma Badgery, from the Banff field unit, confirmed the successful evacuation, stating, “All visitors have safely returned to the gondola base post the Banff Gondola incident.”

Mark Hendrikse, a spokesperson with Pursuit, reflected on the Gondola incident, labeling it as “completely unprecedented” for the company. While they’ve faced challenges in the past, this incident was unique, with so many guests stranded overnight at the mountain’s summit.

The Banff Gondola incident serves as a stark reminder of nature’s unpredictability and the importance of being prepare for any eventuality.

Banff Gondola Incident: Lightning Storm Strands Visitors on Sulphur Mountain