One person dead, one injured in gondola accident in Quebec

c Photo by Wangkun Jia/Shutterstock

A man has died and a woman is in critical condition after they were both thrown from a gondola at Mont-Tremblant on Sunday morning. 

The man has been identified by Sûreté du Québec as 50-year-old Ontario resident Sheldon Johnson. He and the woman were ejected from their gondola after it and a second, empty gondola were struck by a drilling machine. Audrey-Anne Bilodeau, a spokesperson for the SQ, says they responded to a call at 11:30 a.m. Johnson and the woman were both rushed to a hospital in Montreal with life-threatening injuries.

Johnson later died from his injuries in the hospital. The woman has been stabilized and is undergoing surgery, but she is still in critical condition.

Because the police investigation is still ongoing, the SQ was unable to share how the man and woman fell, how far the fall was, or why the drilling machine was there. Bilodeau says they’re investigating with CNESST, Quebec’s provincial worker safety organization. Officers will be interviewing several witnesses over the next few days.

“One of the important witnesses is the operator of this drill, who was also in a state of shock following the incident. I don’t know when he will be able to talk,” she says. “Tremblant is really occupied during the weekend so at least there were other direct witnesses.”

CNESST spokesperson Cindy L’Heureux says they have two inspectors on the scene investigating the experience of the machine operators, their qualifications, their supervision, and the tools and work methods they used. Inspectors have remained tight-lipped with information about the drilling machine.

Caroline Proulx, Quebec’s Minister of Tourism and Minister of the Laurentian region called the incident a “sad accident” on Twitter.

On its Facebook page, Mont-Tremblant announced that it was cancelling the rest of its Blues festival concerts and other activities following the accident. They later said they were closing the gondola “until further notice.”

The SQ has not yet ruled out criminal activity. Bilodeau says she expects the name of the woman to be released soon.

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