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Banff National Park gondola reopened after power outage

Click to play video: 'Hundreds stranded after power outage stops Banff Gondola'
Hundreds stranded after power outage stops Banff Gondola
WATCH: Hundreds of people were trapped overnight on top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff after the power went out to the gondola. Cami Kepke has more on the rescue mission to get everyone off the mountain. – Aug 8, 2023

An undisclosed number of people were trapped for hours on a mountain after a power outage shut down a gondola in Banff National Park.

On Tuesday, the RCMP told Global News that as of 7:55 a.m., helicopters were being called in to bring people to the bottom of Sulphur Mountain.

The people were stranded on top of the mountain when a gondola stopped working.

The gondola was reopened at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, according to operator Pursuit’s website.

An undisclosed number of people have been trapped for hours on a mountain after a power outage shut down a gondola in Banff National Park. Greg Tse/Provided
An undisclosed number of people have been trapped for hours on a mountain after a power outage shut down a gondola in Banff National Park. Greg Tse/Provided

Tanya Otis, spokesperson for Pursuit, said that Monday night the town of Banff suffered a power outage due to lightning which shut down the gondola.

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People who were on the gondola itself were brought down by rescue crews, Otis said.

Some people chose to hike down the mountain while others stayed behind.

Otis said there is no exact number of those impacted but noted it is likely several hundred people.

No injuries have been reported, she said, adding there is no time estimate as to when the gondola will reopen.

Shortly after 10:30 a.m., Parks Canada issued a statement to Global News saying it is aware of the situation.

“(Parks Canada is) currently working with Pursuit to get visitors back down from the summit safely,” the agency said.

“The safety of those impacted is our top priority.”

Tourists from the United Kingdom, Sean Nicholson and his family rode the gondola to eat dinner on top of Sulphur Mountain and to catch a glimpse of the sunset at around 5:30 p.m. on Monday.

He told QR Calgary that the Above Banff Interpretive Centre lost power when it was hit by lightning during the storm on Monday.

“At the time it was quite exciting, because we were watching the storm,” Nicholson said Tuesday.

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“We kind of assumed when the power came back on, the gondola would start working again, and we heard that the gondola was working again. But what they were actually doing was just evacuating the people that were actually stuck on the gondola.

“The plan then was to run the gondola round to make sure it was working okay and then got everybody down, but they just couldn’t get it started again for some reason.”

Nicholson said the staff at the centre took “very good care” of the people who were stuck there. He and his family hiked down Sulphur Mountain with a rescue team at around 2:30 a.m. with 80 other people.

Nicholson said his family got back to the town of Banff at around 6 a.m.

“It was dark, it was wet, a bit slippery. Some people did fall. Someone twisted their ankle,” he said.

“To start with, a lot of people were very apprehensive because the rescue guides had to give the worst-case scenario, which did include bears — which seemed to frighten quite a few people. But we kind of figured that any bears weren’t going to be terribly interested in 80 people walking down the mountain.”

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