|Cable car plunge blamed on improper operation of brakes
The plunge of an empty cable car down an uninhabited Lantau hillside during a routine nighttime test in June 2007 that resulted in the system being shut down for six months was due to improper operation of the brakes, an investigation has found.
The investigation's findings were released by the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department a day after charges of negligence were dropped against Bill Calderwood, managing director of Skyrail-ITM that was operating Ngong Ping 360 at the time, and assistant manager Li Kit-lo, who was overseeing tests on the empty cable car when it plunged 50 meters onto a hillside.
An expert panel concluded that ''the possibility of simultaneous failure of both groups of service brakes is extremely remote.''
It said the design of the Ngong Ping ropeway is in line with the international standards and practices.
But the panel recommended the entire ropeway be monitored during brake tests from now on and that a quality management system be instituted.
Ngong Ping 360 managing director Morris Cheung Siu-wah said the company has introduced a series of measures to improve service quality, such as stepping up inspections and conducting independent assessments on the safety of the cable cars as well as deploying more manpower and resources.