No Injuries Reported in Cypress Mountain Tower Flying Incident

A helicopter pilot was forced to release a tower head bound for Cypress Mountain’s new chairlift Friday when weather conditions became unfavorable. The Sikorsky S-61 helicopter landed safely but the uppermost section of tower 6 was damaged beyond repair. “A fog bank moved quickly and unexpectedly into the work zone as the assembly was being set,” read a statement from the resort. “During the helicopter’s exit from the fog – as required by safety protocols – the load was jettisoned to allow the helicopter to safely reposition to an area with greater visibility, then navigate back to and land at the base area,” the statement continued. The helicopter was being operated by VIH Aviation Group of North Saanich, British Columbia and had been hired by Doppelmayr Canada to install towers at Cypress. Work was temporarily suspended after the incident and Worksafe BC as well as aviation authorities are investigating.

“Safety protocols were strictly followed, and the critical and fortunate outcome is that no one was injured,” said Russell Chamberlain, president and general manager of Cypress Mountain. “We expect this incident will alter the schedule, but not in a way that causes an actual setback in timing.” Doppelmayr is working to replace damaged components at factories in Salt Lake City, Utah and St.-Jérôme, Quebec.

The SkyQuad is replacing a 1968 Mueller double on the upper mountain. Cypress said that despite the setback, Doppelmayr expects to have the new lift operational as planned in mid-December.

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