With no arrests made, gondola officials and RCMP are hoping that a big cash incentive can help with an investigation into the two times the Sea to Sky Gondola’s cable was deliberately cut.
On Sept. 25, at a media briefing, general manager Kirby Brown announced a $250,000 reward for information that may lead to the arrest of the suspect that brought down the gondola for a second time.
“The Sea to Sky Gondola are putting up a $250,000 reward for leading up to the location, arrest and conviction of the perpetrator of the acts of last summer and this year’s attack,” said Brown.
"It is the last tool we can give [RCMP] to go out and get that person as soon as possible.”
The reward money is being paid out of pocket by the owners, he said.
“This individual has put my team and our team directly in harm’s way. This is an individual who’s a criminal who needs to be caught and brought to justice,” said Brown. “If you love this person, if you care about this person, you need to take your part to help stop them now.”
He said the gondola hopes to reopen within a similar timeframe as the last, which took a little more than half a year.
Some workers have been affected as a result, but the core team of 55 people remain on the job, he said.
On Aug. 10, 2019, the Sea to Sky Gondola fell after someone cut its cable in the early morning hours.
This incident sent shockwaves around the world, and it prompted the beginning of a manhunt that would last over a year.
In the meantime, the gondola would rebuild. A new cable and a brand new set of cabins arrived from abroad and were installed.
On Valentine’s Day this year, with considerable fanfare, the gondola reopened.
However, business resumed in fits and starts, as it had to reclose, then open, as a result for the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Sept. 14, as smoke from wildfires in the United States blanketed Squamish in a thick haze, the unthinkable happened — again.
The gondola’s cable was once more cut by a saboteur, and, once again, most of the gondola’s cabins were brought crashing down to the ground.
At the Sept. 25 press briefing, Brown said the damage will cost millions and that up to 30 of the 39 passenger cabins may have to be replaced.
“The extent of the damage is very similar to last time,” he said.
LIVE: Squamish RCMP and officials hold a press briefing on the latest development regarding the sabotage of the Sea to Sky Gondola. Please note physical distancing may make it hard for us to provide the best audio possible. Thank you for understanding.Posted by The Squamish Chief on Friday, September 25, 2020
At the time of the second cut, Brown couldn’t say whether the same perpetrator had repeated the crime, but noted that the second incident closely resembled the first.
This time around, officials said that far better surveillance footage had been captured of this incident, including images of the suspect.
Not much more was said. The suspect’s identity, appearance and motivations remain a mystery.
Police are asking anyone with video footage of the Sea to Sky Highway, north and south of the gondola location from Sept.13 at 8 p.m. to Sept. 14th at 2 p.m., to contact officers.
Anyone with information can contact the police gondola Information phone line: 604-892-6122 or email: GONDOLA.INFO@rcmp-grc.gc.ca. If you wish to remain anonymous, you can contact Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or submit a tip online at www.solvecrime.ca