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Bolt Problem Led To Vail Gondola Evacuation, Shut Down

VAIL, Colo. (CBS4)- Colorado's Passenger Tramway Safety Board and Vail Resorts released statements Monday afternoon saying the shutdown July 3 of the Eagle Bahn Gondola was due to "an issue with certain bolts on one of the lift towers." The state termed it a "tower joint problem."

Vail said it expects the lift will be fully operational again Tuesday.

A photo of the tower obtained last week by CBS4 mountain newsroom reporter Matt Kroschel appeared to show the lift tower with at least half a dozen bolts seeming to have become loose. The bolts appeared to be holding two sections of the tower together.

According to a statement from Vail, a safety monitoring system detected the problem with the bolts on a lift tower.

vail gondola
(credit: Vail Ski Resort)

"Those bolts have been replaced and the repair has been inspected," said Jessie Vandenhouten of Vail Resorts.

The lift had been closed down since the incident happened last Wednesday. There were 74 employees on the gondola riding to work and all were evacuated "via rope evacuation." Nobody was hurt and the lift was not open to the public at the time the problem was discovered.

"The resort worked diligently with lift specialists and experts to resolve the issue," said Vandenhouten. "Vail places the highest value on the safety of its employees and guests and extends its apologies to those who were inconvenienced by this event."

The Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board said in a statement that it was informed last Wednesday of "a tower joint problem" on the Eagle Bahn Gondola.

"Repairs have since been completed and professional engineers are in the process of completing full inspections in order to put the lift back into public operation. The lift will reopen once all inspections are complete and the lift is deemed safe for passenger travel," said the CPTSB statement.

The board said it had inspected the Eagle Bahn Gondola within the last nine months.

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