Quebec gondola crash: Dead man from Ontario identified, woman remains critical

Quebec gondola crash: Dead man from Ontario identified, woman remains critical

An Ontario woman in her 50s remains in hospital in critical condition on Monday after a deadly gondola crash at Quebec’s Mont-Tremblant resort over the weekend.

Quebec provincial police said the incident happened just before noon on Sunday, when a drilling machine struck two cabins on the moving gondola.

Sgt. Audrey-Anne Bilodeau said one of the two cabins was empty, while the other had two passengers, both of whom were ejected.

“I don’t have the exact height from where they fell,” Bilodeau said,

“It’s part of the investigation, obviously, but what I can tell you is that the gondola was more or less at the middle of the mountain when it occurred.”

The victims, a man and a woman from Ontario, were rushed to hospital in critical condition.

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The man died of his injuries on Sunday. He has been identified by Quebec’s coroner’s office as Sheldon Johnson, 50.

Click to play video: '1 dead, 1 in critical condition after gondola struck at Quebec’s Mont-Tremblant resort'

1 dead, 1 in critical condition after gondola struck at Quebec’s Mont-Tremblant resort

Bilodeau said the deceased hailed from Kingston but would not confirm the connection between the man and the woman, saying only they lived in different cities.

In a statement issued Sunday, officials of the popular resort extended their condolences to all involved.

I’d like to offer our sincere sympathies to the family. That’s the most important to us right now,” Annique Aird, a spokesperson for Station Mont Tremblant reiterated to Motorcycle accident toronto today on Monday.

She added the incident has rocked the community.

I had been here just the day before,” said Martha Chany, who was visiting from Colorado. “It is sombre and scary to know that we could have been here when it happened.”

“I was horrified, absolutely horrified,” added Sybil McClary, another visitor in Mont-Tremblant.

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“And then when I read that (it was) a piece of machinery or construction equipment had hit the gondola, that made me even more frightened and wondering, how could this have happened?”

It’s a question many people are asking, including officials at Station Mont Tremblant.

“I’m hearing everywhere that people are curious as to what they were doing there. And so are we,” Aird said of the drilling machine’s close proximity to the gondola.

She’s hoping the investigation will provide some answers.

On Sunday, resort officials stated that the heavy machinery involved in the fatal crash was operated by a third party.

On Monday afternoon, Bilodeau said that officers had yet to meet with the drill operator who was in a state of shock after the incident.

“We haven’t got the chance to meet the operator,” Bilodeau said when asked if any charges could be pending.

“Probably he can tell us more about what happened exactly inside the cabin. Did something break?”

Police were hoping to meet other witnesses, as well as carry out an inspection of the construction machinery.

“To make sure that there was nothing that broke on the drill that could explain why it collided with those gondolas,” Bilodeau said, adding the investigation was still in its   early stages.

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Quebec’s building authority, the Régie du Bâtiment, as well as the health and safety board (CNESST) are also looking into the incident.

The gondola ride remains closed until further notice.

Mont-Tremblant is located roughly 130 kilometres northwest of Montreal in the Laurentian Mountains.

— With files from Motorcycle accident toronto today’ Dan, Spector, Alessia Maratta and The Canadian Press

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