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British Passenger Dies, 15 Hurt in Quebec Cable Car Plunge

October 14, 1996

QUEBEC (AP) _ A cable snapped on a tourist ride carrying people down a cliff to Quebec City’s historic lower town. A British woman was killed and 15 other people were injured when the cable car smashed into a wall at the bottom of the hill.

The accident happened Saturday when the cable snapped near the end of its downward run.

An emergency brake failed to stop the car, which sped out of control and into the wall of a booth where passengers enter and exit the car.

``It was a dreadful mess,″ said Marcel Auclair, a city resident. ``People were piled on top of each other.″

The dead woman was identified as Helen Tombs, 46, of London.

Ms. Tombs was traveling in a group on a 10-day tour of eastern Canada.

The 12 women and four men aboard the cable car were also from Ohio, Massachusetts and New Hampshire as well as the French islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon. Most sustained fractures, bruises and were in shock.

Andre Morin, manager of Otis Canada, declined to speculate on the cause of the accident. The cable car, he said, can carry up to 20 people.

The trip normally takes a minute or so, offering a view of the city, the St. Lawrence River and Quebec’s walled quarter atop the cliff.

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