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Ngong Ping 360 car fell off cable, plunged 50 m to the ground!

Ngong Ping 360 car fell off cable, plunged 50 m to the ground!

Old Jun 11, 07, 3:00 pm
  #1  
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Ngong Ping 360 car fell off cable, plunged 50 m to the ground!

...while after-hour maintenance tests were being performed at around 8 pm Monday. The only news source I can find so far in English is the Hong Kong Standard:

http://www.thestandard.com.hk/news_d...242&con_type=3

...and RTHK (www.rthk.org.hk) should also have frequent updates.

NP360 is shut down until further notice.
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Old Jun 12, 07, 12:40 pm
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from scmp.com

Cable car closed after cabin plunges
Empty Skyrail gondola's 50-metre fall stuns experts and critics of the troubled ride

Ngong Ping 360 was closed indefinitely last night after an empty cable car plunged 50 metres onto a slope near the waterfront in Tung Chung in the worst accident since operations began less than a year ago.
The crash happened just before 8pm, an hour after Hong Kong's latest tourist attraction was closed to the public. Skyrail-ITM, the operator of the cable car, said the cabin was "dislodged and found on the ground" during a series of tests conducted after operating hours.

The cabin fell about 50 metres from a directional changing station on the 5.7km cable journey, landing upside down on the shrub-covered waterfront near Chek Lap Kok South Road.

Stephen Ip Shu-kwan, secretary for Economic Development and Labour, said the government was concerned about the incident. It had ordered a halt to services and asked the MTR Corp to find out the cause of the accident and take all measures to ensure safety.

The area is close to a roundabout, although it sees little traffic, and is accessible to pedestrians.

The cabin, which was seriously damaged, was still lying in the shrubbery hours after the plunge. Its doors had fallen off and windows were broken. Skyrail staff examined the wreckage and looked for broken parts, which lay scattered across the site. Police and firemen went to the scene to search for anyone who may be trapped but no one was injured.


The accident sparked an uproar among lawmakers who, along with the Tourism Board condemned the company for its poor performance since the cable car began operations on September 18.

Engineers familiar with the design of cable cars described the accident as a "disaster" and "inconceivable", noting that emergency locks should automatically hold the cabin in place if the main lock failed.

Skyrail's chief executive, Bill Calderwood, said the company was investigating the accident with the Engineering and Mechanical Services Department.

Mr Calderwood said the company would not rule out any possible cause, including the weather, even though there were no serious weather conditions when the accident happened.

Andrew Cheng Kar-foo, chairman of the Legislative Council's transport panel, called for a change of operator for the HK$1 billion project, which was developed and funded by the MTR Corporation.


He was joined by Raymond Ho Chung-tai, the engineering sector lawmaker, who said the government had to rethink its choice of operator in light of the constant turmoil.


In a statement issued soon after the accident, Tourism Board chairman James Tien Pei-chun joined his fellow lawmakers in calling on Ngong Ping 360 to give the public an explanation as soon as possible.

Mr Tien said he was "very disappointed" by the accident and other incidents, such as mechanical faults, that have dogged the cable car since it came into service. He said he had asked the chairman of Legco's economic services panel to convene a special meeting to discuss the accident.

Hung Wing-tat, an associate professor of civil and structural engineering at Polytechnic University, said Skyrail needed to determine whether the problem was confined to just the one cabin or a design flaw affecting the entire system.

"It may be just a localised problem, such as a defective lock or metal fatigue, which is less alarming. If it's a system-wide fault with the locking mechanism, then it's a very major issue," Dr Hung said.

He said the incident was especially worrying because a cable car was designed and tested to withstand most weather conditions.
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Old Jun 12, 07, 3:00 pm
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Economic impact far greater than a little car

* The quasi-govt agency HKTB has pulled publicity of NP360, wherever possible.

* Until the cars start running again, MTR will charge zero rent for all NP Village stores/vendors, which saw 80-90% less tourist traffic on Tuesday, when you could only get there by bus. So in terms of economic impact, it might as well be the whole govt-built "village" sliding down the hill.

* Whether anybody will trust the gondola system after it resumes running is anybody's guess, and may very well depend on the results of the investigation.

* Nothing bad ever happened at the other gondola at Ocean Park (30 years old). So with Disneyland added to the equation of HK tourism, the score is like Ocean Park 2, Lantau 0.

Last edited by HkCaGu; Jun 12, 07 at 5:11 pm Reason: clarified last bullet
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Old Jun 12, 07, 4:07 pm
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It seems that these operators of the cable car couldn't organize a one car funeral.
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Old Jun 23, 07, 10:15 am
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What about the manufacturer of the Cableway

Originally Posted by Pickles View Post
It seems that these operators of the cable car couldn't organize a one car funeral.
In defence of the operator who are very experienced at running cable car operations elsewhere, the difference in NP360 is the scale of the project. Also the cable way was 'required' in its design to make a 90 degree turn in traveling from Tung Chung to Airport Island before proceeding to Lantau. There would have been a reason for this but I suspect that it made the cable way different and more complex. In any case, like an auto accident, there are three elements to investigate, the road, the car and the driver. In this case the operator is the 'driver' who was testing the brakes and something failed. In fact, the driver was being responsible in it's duty of care to operate a 'roadworthy vehicle'.
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Old Jun 23, 07, 10:42 am
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According to today's SCMP, although the article is very unclear; the cable car will be opening again on July 1st with the MTR offering free trips to Tung Chung if connecting to the cablecar. The same article also goes on to say that the Lantau Bus company will be providing free one way trips to the buddha.

The snippet is VERY badly written, so does anyone know;

1) Will the cable car be opening again on July 1st?
2) OR are they saying that you getting to the Buddha will be free on July 1st? via combination of MTR+Bus or MTR+Cable car?
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Old Jun 23, 07, 10:49 am
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The NP360 is a very large scale and complex system. Not just because of its significant length, but also with the two sets of cables with two angle stations.

The cable system is made by Leitner of South Tyrol, Italy; gondolas made in France; while the operator is Australian.

I think the main problem is Skyrail, the Cairn, Australia operator that MTR chose as its partner. It's a relatively new operator, whose sole credential is the very successful, commercially, of the Skyrail in Cairns. Which is also of significant length, but a total different cable design. It has no experience running other cable car system.

I think MTR chose Skyrail because of its commercial expertise in getting tourists to ride its system, and not much else. After all, this is Hong Kong, and all it matters is money - cultural and environmental issues be damned. And MTR's main revenue isn't really running the subway trains. It's to develop real estate projects on top of the stations. It's all about money.

Just a few days ago, news came out that the Skyrail chief in Hong Kong has ZERO experience in running cable cars.

It's really not surprising the NP360 Skyrail project has run into this much problem. It's very fortunate that no one was killed, so far.

Last edited by rkkwan; Jul 19, 07 at 12:41 pm
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Old Jun 23, 07, 10:54 am
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Originally Posted by slickalick View Post
According to today's SCMP, although the article is very unclear; the cable car will be opening again on July 1st with the MTR offering free trips to Tung Chung if connecting to the cablecar. The same article also goes on to say that the Lantau Bus company will be providing free one way trips to the buddha.

The snippet is VERY badly written, so does anyone know;

1) Will the cable car be opening again on July 1st?
2) OR are they saying that you getting to the Buddha will be free on July 1st? via combination of MTR+Bus or MTR+Cable car?
No, the cable car isn't running. It won't for several months, at the minimum.

What it is offering are, starting July 1st:

1. If you use your Octopus on any machines at the Ngong Ping Marketplace, you get a free MTR ride from Tung Chung to anywhere in the system.

2. If you spend $50 at Ngong Ping Marketplace, you can get a free New Lantao Bus ride down from Ngong Ping to Tai O, Tung Chung, or Mui Wo.

This is to keep people going to the NP Marketplace and hope the merchants will stay. They're already waiving all rent, but merchants won't survive if no one goes there.

But a business selling French food or Starbucks in Ngong Ping - a Buddhism enclave - shouldn't exist in the first place. So, personally, I will like many of these merchants close doors.
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Old Jun 25, 07, 3:47 pm
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This is very scary! I just rode the cable cars in March!
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Old Jun 26, 07, 1:28 pm
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I only rode the Skyrail at the start of June the DAY BEFORE it shut down for it's annual maintenance O_O

-mrploddy
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Old Jun 26, 07, 5:02 pm
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Originally Posted by mrploddy View Post
I only rode the Skyrail at the start of June the DAY BEFORE it shut down for it's annual maintenance O_O

-mrploddy
It's been reported that it's actually not an annual maintenance. What they did in those three days was to "tighten" the cables, or in other words, shorten it; after they decide that will reduce the swing of the gondolas in high winds.

The annual maintenance apparently was not due yet; so that announcement was sort of a lie. Or misleading, at a minimum.
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Old Aug 1, 07, 12:57 pm
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Wow...I'm going to be staying in Tung Chung when I am in HK next week and was planning on taking the cable car to the Buddha. Any word on if it is open again, and if anything has been done to improve the safety and reliability of the cars?

How long does it take to get to the village/Buddha on the bus?
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Old Aug 1, 07, 1:08 pm
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Originally Posted by wilheldp View Post
Wow...I'm going to be staying in Tung Chung when I am in HK next week and was planning on taking the cable car to the Buddha. Any word on if it is open again, and if anything has been done to improve the safety and reliability of the cars?

How long does it take to get to the village/Buddha on the bus?
It will be a while before the cable car reopens. They've hired Swiss/Austrians consultants to find out what's going on, and report isn't due until around October or so.

The bus takes about 45 minutes.
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Old Aug 3, 07, 10:25 pm
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Originally Posted by wilheldp View Post
Wow...I'm going to be staying in Tung Chung when I am in HK next week and was planning on taking the cable car to the Buddha. Any word on if it is open again, and if anything has been done to improve the safety and reliability of the cars?
If yer in need of exercise and a sauna, just hike it.
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Old Aug 4, 07, 9:24 am
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Originally Posted by Pickles
If yer in need of exercise and a sauna, just hike it.
And snakes! Or so I was told.

Due to my aversion to busses, I asked the concierge at my hotel about walking. He said it was possible but definitely advised against it. Supposedly it's serious hiking and there are lots of creepy crawlies all over Lantau. <shivers>
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