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Gondola cable cars collide in Scotland accident

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#1 SkiBachelor

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Posted 14 July 2006 - 09:23 PM


As many as eight people were injured after two cable cars collided at the Nevis Range near Fort William in Scotland. The Doppelmayr gondola system is made up of eighty six-seat closed cabins running on a continuous 4.6km steel cable.

Two RAF helicopters, an air ambulance, four ambulance crews, police, fire brigade and a mountain rescue team are among those present. Police have confirmed that three people have been injured, including one child. Injuries include broken legs, head and chest injuries.

The Scottish Ambulance Service reported that up to seven people had been thrown on to the hillside.

Northern Constabulary have stated, "It's understood that two gondolas would appeared to have collided and a number of casualties have been reported. The local mountain rescue team, Inverness helimed and other air support are in attendance to remove casualties."

A reporter at the scene said one car near the top of the mountain had slid down a cable, hitting another and then one of the cars fell to the ground.

Source: Wiki News


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#2 dromo_mania

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Posted 15 July 2006 - 08:17 AM

seems like the grip opened from what I read... maybe the riders were swinging the cabin?

more info: http://news.bbc.co.u...and/5177392.stm

#3 coskibum

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Posted 15 July 2006 - 11:05 AM

it said it was only built 12 years ago and had a new cable installed this past winter. i wonder what exactly happened?

#4 mikest2

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Posted 16 July 2006 - 05:30 AM

Looks like a ds grip from the pics. This is from the daily scotsman:

Gondola plunge probe focuses on open clamp

THE investigation into the Aonach Mor gondola accident has found that a metal clamp which should have attached the car to the cable was open, Scotland on Sunday can reveal.

Four people, including a three-year-old girl, were still in hospital yesterday after the gondola at the Nevis Range resort in the Highlands slid forward and collided with the preceding car as they travelled down the mountainside.

A spokeswoman for the Nevis Range company confirmed yesterday that the accident's most likely cause was that the clamp holding the gondola to its overhead cable had opened.

"We know that the clamp on the gondola involved was open on the ground," she said. "We don't know at what point it was opened."

A spokeswoman for the Health and Safety Executive said its team of inspectors returned to the site of the accident yesterday to examine the remains of the gondola and the clamping arm.

Failure of a clamping mechanism led to the deaths of two elderly tourists in Japan three years ago when the clamp detached from the cable allowing their gondola to crash into a support tower.

The HSE inspectors are investigating whether the clamp might have come loose due to a one-off mechanical failure or lack of maintenance.

Safety standards require the clamping arms to be periodically inspected as their internal spring mechanism can become worn. The Nevis Range spokeswoman said one in four of the clamps was inspected every year on a rolling four-year programme.

The HSE team will be examining whether the clamp could have remained open after the gondola passed through the top station before starting to make its descent. The clamps detach as the gondola passes around a wheel which slows it down so that passengers can alight. The clamp should then be automatically re-secured before descent.

The accident happened mid-afternoon on Thursday about 500 metres from the top station. One gondola, containing a family from Northern Ireland, is believed to have slid forward into a lower car.

The upper car, containing Theresa and Craig Harris and their three-year-old daughter Caitlin, then fell 25ft to the ground. Caitlin suffered a broken leg and her father spinal and facial injuries, but her mother was not seriously hurt. All three are still in Raigmore Hospital in Inverness where their conditions were yesterday described as "comfortable".

In the lower car were father and son Jelle and Daniel Koen, originally from Holland but now living in Totnes, Devon. Jelle, a 52-year-old accountant, fell from his gondola and was yesterday in a "serious but stable" condition in Glasgow's Southern General with serious chest injuries. His 24-year-old son, who jumped to the ground, was not seriously hurt.

The 2.8-mile cable car system will be closed to the public until the cause of the malfunction has been established.

#5 mikest2

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 06:05 PM

from todays Scotsman:

cable car
INVESTIGATIONS into the Nevis Range cable car crash will resume today after a key piece of equipment was sent away for further examination by safety experts.

Officials from the government's Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are focusing on a clamp which attached the gondola to the cable from which it was suspended.

Four people in the two gondolas which collided on Thursday were still recovering yesterday in hospitals in Glasgow and Inverness.

One of the gondolas at the resort near Fort William slid down the cable, colliding with another gondola and crashing 25ft on to the hillside.

A spokeswoman for the HSE said officials would return to the site today to resume work after it was suspended yesterday.

She said the clamp had been dismantled with assistance from officials from Doppelmayr, the cable car system's Austrian manufacturers. The component has been sent for further examination at the Health and Safety laboratory at Buxton in Derbyshire.

However, the spokeswoman was unable to comment on reports yesterday that an alarm had been triggered by a fault with the clamp shortly before the gondola left the top station and started its journey down the hillside.

Jelle Koen, 52, a Dutch businessman from Totnes in Devon, who was the most seriously hurt in the accident, remained in a stable condition at the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow last night.

Theresa and Craig Harris, and their daughter, Caitlin, three, of Newry, Co Down, were all in a "comfortable" condition at Raigmore Hospital, Inverness.

#6 Winterhighland

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 08:07 PM

From local media this morning it is hoped that the Gondola at Nevis Range will re-open before the weekend.

It also appears that at this stage of the investigation that the attachment mechanisim in the station and the grip on the gondola which fell are both fully operational...... Doppelmayr have stated that there was no fault with their equipment and it wasn't to blame.

#7 Peter

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 08:11 PM

Here is a link to an info page on the Doppelmayr gondola with pictures:

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#8 coskibum

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Posted 23 July 2006 - 06:24 AM


Cable crash 'human error' claim

The manufacturers of the cable car blamed the crash on human error
A cable car collision in the Scottish Highlands in which five people were injured was caused by operator error, its Austrian manufacturer has claimed.
Doppelmayr, which makes the Nevis Range gondola system, said an alarm sounded before one of the cars crashed into another - but no action was taken.

The accident at the Nevis Range, near Fort William, happened on 13 July.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive into the cause of the crash is under way.

A gondola at the Nevis Range malfunctioned and crashed into another car behind it before falling 30ft to the ground.

Four people are still recovering in hospital and Nevis Range said the system would be running again soon.

We don't know why this cabin wasn't brought back into the station for a check

Christoff Hinteregger

Three of the casualties in Raigmore hospital in Inverness have been named as Craig Harris, Teresa Murphy and their three-year-old daughter Caitlin Harris.

A spokesman for the hospital said the family remained in a comfortable condition.

Christoff Hinteregger, technical director with gondola manufacturers Doppelmayr, told BBC Scotland: "Our engineers on the investigation team figured out that an open grip was not properly attached on to the cable.

"We have three safety systems and they are detecting a wrong position or an unclosed and unlocked grip. That is the function of those safety systems.

"One of three indicated or detected this wrong position."

Mr Hinteregger said there was a safety switch which acted as a break if there was a problem with the grip, and normal practice would be to bring the gondola back to the station.

'Human error'

He said: "We don't know why this cabin wasn't brought back into the station for a check."

Mr Hinteregger said he was sorry for what had happened during the incident.

He claimed that there must have been human error as the safety systems worked as intended.

Mr Hinteregger added that the company was not "in charge" of allocating blame, as that was up to the investigating authorities.

The operators, Nevis Range, said they were aware of the claims but did not wish to comment.

do these safety systems stop the gondola or just a warning siren? I wonder if it was overridden?

#9 vons

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Posted 23 July 2006 - 09:36 AM

Since the Quicksilver accident detachable tramways in North America are required to stop if a grip force or position issue is detected, I don't know about the rest of the world. This lift is also older than the rule so it may have been grandfathered. If the lift did stop and the operator reset and ran without checking his faults than that is another thing. The one Doppelmayr HSQ I have worked in had the DS grip it used break forks detect grip force (the grip is self checking when it doesn't meet force a small lever extends down making contact with a brittle-bar) position on the rope is monitored by a switch that has to be manually reset and cable position is also monitored by brittle-bars. Basically you have a breakdown if a brittle-bar is broken since it must be replaced or jumped out (unwise) to restart the lift.

#10 Aussierob

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Posted 23 July 2006 - 04:42 PM

Judging soley by what Doppelmayr said, it would seem that a grip force or grip guage fault occured but the switch/fork was reset and the lift restarted. The protocol is to bring the offending carrier back into the station for inspection, although we do it at the first tower sometimes as reversing a chairlift causes its own set of problems. I would be interested to know how an open grip went out. We have DS grips on Blackcomb with millions of cycles and we've never had it occur in the 11 years I've been here.
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#11 cookiepuss

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Posted 24 July 2006 - 06:33 AM

I heard that the grip in question was the DT, not the DS. Too bad it sounds like "human error" was to blame.

#12 vons

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Posted 24 July 2006 - 10:48 AM

I am pretty sure it is a DS grip from the photos I have seen, it looks similar to Steamboat's gondola in design, but it doesn't really matter which grip it is because the DS,DT, AGA Doppelmayr grips all have grip testing switches and position switches that if tripped an automatic breakdown should be assumed by operators. Some times flip switches will trip and reset themselvs but the carrier should still be examined as a precaution, attachment accidents are no joke as this incident shows. Now cable elevation switches can be tough because sometimes a grip will connect on one of the tucks in the rope splice and trip an elevation switch due to the bulge in the rope (this to should be considered a breakdown by lift ops) but usually maintenance personnel can spot the culprit while standing in the terminal and donít need to inspect the grip connection up close.

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