The Worst Cable Car Disasters in History

The Worst Cable Car Disasters in History


The Worst Cable Car Disasters in History


Squaw Valley, CA 15 April 1978

On a stormy April afternoon in 1978, the Cable Car at Squaw Valley came off of one of its cables, dropped 75 feet and then bounced back up, colliding with a cable which sheared through the car. Four people we killed and thirty-one were injured.


Singapore Cable Car – 29 January 1983

The derrick of the Eniwetok, a Panamanian-registered oil rig, passed under Singapore’s aerial cable car and struck the cable that stretched over the waterway between the Jardine Steps Station and the Sentosa Station. As a result, two cabins plunged 55 metres into the sea, killing seven people.


le Mont Dore, France – 25 December 1965

On Christmas Day, 1965, the Mont Dore cable car was carrying fifty skiers to the summit of the Sancy Mountain. Suddenly, a hundred meters before the car arrived at the top station the power cut. The passengers were thrown forward onto to front which gave way under the shock. Seventeen passengers ejected from the cable car onto the steep rock and snow slopes some twenty meters below, ten of them lived to tell the tale, some without so much as a scratch.


Cavalese, Italy – 3 February 1998 

A US Marine Aircraft plioted by Captain Richard J. Ashby struck the cables supporting the cable car in Cavalese, Italy. The aircraft was flying at a speed of 540 miles per hour and at an altitude of between 260 and 330 feet despite orders from the Pentagon to keep above 1,000 feet (305 m) in that area. The aircraft’s right wing struck the cables supporting the cable car. The cable was severed and 20 people in the cabin descending from Cermis plunged over 80 metres (260 ft) to their deaths.


St-Etienne-en-Dévoluy, France  – 1 July 1999

A cable car taking staff, cleaners and maintenance workers to an international astronomical observatory fell 80 metres (260ft) to the valley below. The cable car was privately owned by a Franco-German scientific enterprise and used to transport staff and equipment to an observatory high in the mountains. 20 workers on board a cable car plunged to their deaths.


Cavalese, Italy – 9 March 1976

A cable car cabin in the Italian town of Cavalese fell some 200 metres (660 ft) down a mountainside, then skidded 300 feet (91 m) before coming to a halt in a grassy meadow. In the fall the three-ton overhead carriage assembly fell on top of the car, crushing it. Forty-three people died, including 15 children between the ages of 7 and 15 and the 18-year-old cable car attendant. The only survivor was a 14-year-old Milanese girl, Alessandra Piovesana, who was on a school trip and was with two friends when the accident happened. The inquest found that two steel cables crossed and one severed the other. The automatic safety system which could have prevented the disaster was switched off. Four lift officials were jailed for their part in the disaster.

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