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Ontario man, 50, identified as victim of Mont Tremblant gondola crash

The Quebec Coroner's office has identified the man who was killed after he was ejected from a gondola at Mont Tremblant on Sunday morning as Sheldon Johnson, 50, from Kingston, Ontario.

And earlier on Monday, Quebec provincial police confirmed that the type of construction equipment involved in the crash that killed Johnson and seriously injured a woman, also in her 50s, was a drilling machine belonging to a third party.

"The woman, she's still in critical condition this morning in a Montreal area hospital," (SQ) spokesperson Audrey-Anne Bilodeau said, and she was expected to have surgery.

Police say the woman is also from Ontario but they do not know yet how the two gondola passengers are related to one another, if at all.

The two were in the gondola mid-way up the mountain when the impact of the machine ejected them from the cabin. They fell many metres to the ground, police said, unable to confirm the exact distance.

The gondola struck the machinery about halfway up the mountain at the popular ski resort about 105 kilometres northwest of Montreal, police later adding that two gondolas were hit –one was unoccupied.

Bilodeau said it's still unclear why a drilling machine was operating near a moving gondola.

"Still a lot of possible witnesses to meet, including of course the man who was operating this drill. He was in a state of shock following this," she said.


Along with police, Quebec's workplace health and safety board (CNESST) is also investigating, as is the Regie du Batiment du Quebec (RBQ).

Bilodeau said before police can contemplate if they will lay any criminal charges, they will question the drill operator when his state has improved and the construction equipment itself will be inspected to see if there was a "mechanical problem."

CNESST spokesperson Cindy L'Heureux told CTV that there are currently two employees at the scene investigating. They will focus on how any work involving the drilling machine was being carried out, from a safety perspective, she said.

L'Heureux said the board has ordered that neither the drill nor the gondola be moved from the scene of the collision until further notice.

Late Monday afternoon, the RBQ explained it will only be able to decide whether an investigation is warranted after more information is gathered. Two inspectors are at the scene.

A spokesperson with the RBQ, a construction industry regulatory body, explained in an email they plan to inspect the aerial car to ensure it was compliant with the regulations that govern the operation of a ski lift.

"Since 2017, the RBQ has inspected 10 ski lifts at Mont-Tremblant, including the one involved in the July 16 accident. No corrective notices had been issued following these interventions," said Laurent Bérubé.


As soon as the Tremblant Resort Association learned about the fatal crash it halted all activities at the mountain for the day, including a blues music festival.

On Monday, the flags around the resort are flying at half-mast out of respect, they said, for the family.

"It's hard. It's a very difficult time for us," said resort spokesperson Annick Aird." It's hard for all the staff and we're really with the family."

Aird also said they are aware the equipment that was stationed on the hill was a drilling machine, but said she didn't know what type of work it was doing there.

She said SQ has set up a command post there and will try to speak to the many witnesses who were in the area that day.

"People are trying to understand (what happened). So are we and the investigation will help us with that," Aird said.

- With files from The Canadian Press Top Stories

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