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Fifty ski lift passenger rescued

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Fifty ski lift passengers have been rescued after a support tower collapsed at Canada's Whistler ski resort, which is to host the alpine events of the 2010 winter Olympic games.

There were no serious injuries among people in the 30 gondolas involved, one of which hit the ground which allowed passengers to scramble out through broken windows. Another hit a bus shelter.

A crane was brought in to support the leaning tower, and fire crews worked quickly to evacuate three cars that were the most in danger. Thirteen people were sent to the Whistler Health Care Centre and later released.

The resort said that the gondola section where the incident took place is approximately 30ft above the ground. Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sgt Steve Wright said the rescued passengers were in good spirits.

© Press Association 2008