Czech Tram Car Falls, Killing One

Another aerial tramway has crashed in Europe, this time in the Czech Republic. The incident occurred on a two cabin reversible system on Ještěd Mountain around 2:00 pm Sunday. An attendant operating the downbound cabin suffered fatal injuries. Thirteen passengers and a dog in the upbound cabin were safely evacuated by ladder truck.

The 4,000 foot long tramway was constructed by a Czech firm and opened in 1933. Each cabin rides on one track rope and there is a single haul rope loop made up of two segments. A major renovation of the system was completed in 1975 with electrical upgrades undertaken more recently. The lift is operated by a government-owned national railway and today was the last scheduled day of operation before a planned seasonal maintenance period. “The cause of this tragic accident is being investigated,” read a statement from the company. “Czech Railways expresses regret over the accident and sends its deepest condolences to the bereaved.”

This is the third catastrophic incident of the year on European aerial tramways. 14 people were killed in May when a haul rope broke on a tram in Northern Italy. Last month, two cabins were destroyed when a tramway failed to stop in France. That mishap occurred during maintenance and no one was injured.

Later in the day, the rail company issued a second statement and acknowledged the haul rope system failed, causing one of the cabins to fall.

We are very sorry that this tragic event has taken place and we want to express our deepest condolences to the survivors of our colleague. At the same time, we would like to thank all those who participated in the evacuation of passengers from the second cabin and took care of their transfer to safety. The cableway to Ještěd has a prescribed system of inspections, checks and revisions, which are regularly performed and records and protocols are kept about them. There is a daily visual inspection of the equipment with testing of safety features and regular maintenance every Monday. Every 14 days, the cable car undergoes a major inspection and once a month a so-called comprehensive inspection with protocol records. Major inspections are carried out on the cable car twice a year, always in spring and autumn between the summer and winter seasons. The ropes have a prescribed diagnostic inspection, which is performed for the supporting ropes every 3 years and for smaller ropes, every 2 years. The last diagnostic inspection of the tow rope took place in November 2020. Another inspection was recommended by an expert by November 2022.