Chamonix english summary
On 1 March 2008 a skier fell to his death from the Planpraz cable car in Chamonix.
The accident occurred at around 17:15 in the afternoon : the movement of the occupants messing about in the cabin caused the side window to fall out and one of the four skiers to fall through the window opening.
The direct cause of the accident was the rumpus made by the occupants of the gondola causing them to fail to adhere to safety measures, in particular the passenger who was thrown out of the window.
The unusual behaviour of the four passengers in the gondola was related to alcohol in their bloodstreams which could have reduced their perception of the risk.
Three factors contributed to the window falling out :
The "H"-type design of the joint which does not use a stop ;
The ageing of the joint and its key which reduced its power to hold the window ;
Reduced thickness of the window surround, reducing its capacity to pinch the window by the joint edges.
Finally, displaying a policy rule without emphasising the essential safety rules taken from the policy rules does not encourage the public to be aware of the potential dangers linked to any cable car ride.
An immediate safety recommendation was made in July 2008 aimed at improving the safety in gondolas presenting a potential risk ; it was implemented before the end of 2008.
Two new recommendations were made at the end of the technical investigation concerning :
Suggesting to European partners that the European Norm NF EN 13796-1 on cable car walls be changed to take account of holding functions, by introducing windows and their joints, as well as fixing and safety parts, into the scope of safety factors ;
Looking at information material placed in embarkation areas to improve the public’s awareness of safety rules contained in the policy rules.