Montreal

Skier injured when Mont Sainte-Anne ski lift suddenly stopped demands compensation

A Gatineau man has filed a class action claim against the Mont Sainte-Anne ski resort, saying that he was injured when the ski gondolas came to a sudden stop on Feb. 21.

Marcel Gagnon, 62, has filed a class action claim against the resort

The ski lift came to an abrupt stop, causing some minor injuries for people who were inside gondolas at the time. (Guylaine Bussiere/RADIO-CANADA)

A Gatineau man has filed a class action claim against the Mont Sainte-Anne ski resort, saying that he was injured when the ski gondolas came to a sudden stop on Feb. 21.

Marcel Gagnon, 62, said he experienced whiplash when the gondola he was in stopped abruptly, jolting passengers inside.

In a suit filed Monday, Gagnon is asking for $20,000 in damages for pain and suffering and another $2,000 for the injuries he suffered.

Gagnon said he's still experiencing pain in his head and neck as a result of the incident.

In his suit, he stated that he "had never been so scared" and that the day "was turned into a nightmare."

Over the weekend, Mont Sainte-Anne said it wasn't mechanical failure or human error that caused the sudden stop, injuring 21 people.

No mechanical failure, says resort

The ski hill said it was caused by a drop in voltage that was beyond its control.

Another passenger, Luc Lawrence, said he nearly fell out of the gondola when it came to a sudden stop. Nine days later, he has a concussion that prevents him from working.

Luc Lawrence suffered a concussion when the gondola he was jolted inside the gondola when it came to an abrupt halt last month. (Jean-François Dumas/Radio-Canada)

Since he is self-employed, he is taking a financial hit from the lost hours.

Lawrence said he received a letter Saturday from Mont Sainte-Anne, saying the ski lift's failure was caused by an "independent, external and unpredictable event" and notes that the lift "respects all security criteria and applicable laws and regulations."

Lawrence said he was surprised to find that his gondola apparently met all security criteria, since its protective windows fell out as it swayed.

Hydro-Québec, for its part, says it does not guarantee "a stable level" of voltage and frequency.

The utility company says it cannot be held responsible for "all material damage by one or more variation of loss of voltage or frequency," and that businesses must ensure equipment can handle such variations.

Maxime Cretin, the eastern regional head of Resorts of the Canadian Rockies, which owns the hill, said the emergency brake "did not cause damage or breakage to the cabins."

Based on a report by Radio-Canada

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