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Hundreds of skiers evacuated from Bromont ski lift in Quebec

200 skiers stranded after Bromont chairlift malfunctions
A chairlift malfunction left about 200 skiers stranded for about nearly five hours at a ski hill in Bromont. This video was submitted by Josée Houde.

More than 200 skiers were trapped for hours aboard the main ski lift at the Bromont ski resort in Quebec’s Eastern Townships after a mechanical failure ground the lift to a halt.

Ski Bromont’s director of marketing and communications, Marc-André Meunier, told Global News that after the Express du Village lift broke down at 7:05 p.m., the resort tried twice to restart it.

“We tried to start the main engine first, and it didn’t work. The next step was to take the alternate engine that we have online, but unfortunately we weren’t able to make that work, either, so at 8:30 p.m., we took the decision to go with a manual evacuation.”

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Social media footage shows skiers being lowered to the ground by ropes.

Meunier confirmed to Global News that none of the skiers evacuated from the lift were injured during the operation.

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In all, he said, the evacuation took three hours and fifteen minutes, “so the last client was at 11:45 [p.m.].”

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Witness Carl Beaulieu, who watched the evacuation from the ground and was not aboard the ski lift, described the mood during the rescue operation as “calm but with an air of frustration.”

According to Environment Canada, while the temperature only reached -2 C at the weather station in nearby Frelighsbrug, gusting southerly winds left the air atop the mountain feeling colder.

Bromont police confirmed to Global News that an evacuation took place Wednesday evening but would not provide further comment on the operation.

The Express du Village lift is less than two years old — Meunier told Global it opened in December 2018 — and this is not the first time it has experienced mechanical issues.

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“Last year when we opened the lift, we did have to make some adjustments … to make it work well,” Meunier said. However, he added that “what happened [last night] has no link to what we experienced last year.”

On its Facebook page, Ski Bromont says that the Express du Village lift is “temporarily closed.”