RCMP release thermal image, profile of suspect who cut Sea to Sky Gondola cable

·3 min read
B.C. RCMP have released a thermal image of the suspect, circled in red, who they believe severed the cable of the Sea to Sky Gondola in 2019 and 2020. (B.C. RCMP - image credit)
B.C. RCMP have released a thermal image of the suspect, circled in red, who they believe severed the cable of the Sea to Sky Gondola in 2019 and 2020. (B.C. RCMP - image credit)

RCMP have released a profile and a thermal image of the person suspected of cutting the cable of the Sea to Sky Gondola twice in the past three years.

The individual is believed to be "extremely fit," know the area around the gondola well and have extensive knowledge of the tools needed to cause damage to the cable while allowing them to get away safely.

The gondola's cable was deliberately severed on separate occasions in 2019 and 2020.

RCMP Sgt. Chris Manseau says investigators believe it could have been the same person who severed the cable both times, sending the gondola's cabins crashing to the ground, but different people may also be involved.

"We know there are people out there with information that could assist police with this investigation," said Manseau on Wednesday.

WATCH | B.C. RCMP Sgt. Chris Manseau delivers information about the suspect:

The Mounties' major crimes special projects section also says security video from the second instance the cable was cut in September 2020 shows how a security guard narrowly avoided being killed by the falling cable cars.

Investigators gave the updates at a news conference at RCMP headquarters in Surrey, B.C., on Wednesday, the second anniversary of the 2020 incident in which the attraction's main cable was cut, sending most of the gondola cabins crashing to the ground.

The operators of the Sea to Sky Gondola have also doubled the reward to $500,000 for anyone with information leading to the arrest and conviction of the cable-cutting vandal.

"It has been a rough few years for Squamish," said the attraction's general manager Kirby Brown on Wednesday. "We are going to double the reward and hope that this person who has endangered the lives of our people and endangered the viability of our community will be brought in swiftly."

WATCH | Security guard narrowly avoids being hit by falling cars:

The privately owned tourist attraction had resumed operating just months earlier after being targeted in the same way in August 2019.

No arrests have been made for either crime. RCMP said Wednesday they have interviewed more than 70 people of interest and eliminated them as suspects over the past three years.

Squamish RCMP
Squamish RCMP

Police say they are looking into charges of mischief and of mischief endangering a life because of the security guard who was nearly struck by the falling gondola cars.

Operators of the gondola stepped up security after the cable was cut the first time and the attraction now has an in-house security team with tech for around-the-clock surveillance.

The attraction, which draws roughly 400,000 visitors every year, reopened again in June 2021 and has been operating as usual since.

The 39-car gondola takes passengers up a steep mountain ridge just south of the Stawamus Chief, offering unobstructed views of Howe Sound.

The attraction is also one of the largest employers in town and a significant feature in the $95-million local tourism sector, according to Tourism Squamish.

After the cable was cut the first time in August 2019, it took six months and $5 million to repair the attraction. Brown says the damage from both incidents has cost the company over $10 million in total.