Surplus electronic parts :
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Tragic? Yes.
Accident? NO!
"..he had left a fork-shaped bracket on the cable car’s emergency brake to disable it because it kept locking on.."
Likely, the emergency brakes were dragging and the wire rope was periodically overloaded.

Fella sent me this the weekend sad news: 14 bodies laid asunder in a tin trap at the base of an italian mountainside. When will we ever learn? Hey glass, half empty glass, half full the engineer, steps forward and says: wait a second that glass is twice as big as it needs to be been locked up in your italian hybrinoculum for an eye on months and months. Gagging for a breath of fresh air due to the the fu manchu, you get your wife and kids out for a little randomness up the mountainside for a breatha almost up there and she starts careening back down the main cable picking up speed people are screaming. Imagine the terror you're trapped in a tin trap not to go over the ghoulish details, but to engender some discussion amongst technical people around the water.

Cooler i'll remind you that garbage in garbage out i'm 10 000 kilometers away, and i can only see what photos i can see what are online. Clearly, there is a complete failure in management, as well as a brain dead yeah. I can't believe yeah. What we have is an aerial tramway commissioned in the late 60s early 70s, something like that, which means it's getting a little old, but that's not why.

It failed in that circa that that era of equipment, the drive motors in order to control speed, they would have been dc. Direct current shunt wound very likely big jeezless sparking motors with enough torque to pull their own teeth out. These things are torquey and there wouldn't have been really all that much granularity in there hmm. How do you say that it wouldn't have been a very smart control system? Put it this way more of a chunk chunk switch, maybe a couple of limits.

Maybe a couple of overloads, but nothing really too smart in the drive mechanism of this aerial tramway and what you can see from the wreckage appears to be two emergency brakes. Those emergency brakes kind of like clam shells, would clamp on the main cable two cables on this. The main cable holds the weight of the car, and then the hull cable actually pulls the cars up. The mountain the hull cable, is quite a bit smaller and attached, along with the hull cable are electrical connections, appear to be electrical connections, which would mean that there'd be a hydraulic power pack at the top of every car and that hydraulic power pack very likely operates.

The doors and the emergency brakes that means that those brakes would be fail-safe or what they used to call fail-safe. They don't call them fail-safe anymore because they can fail in other ways other than safely, as we clearly saw so these are hydraulic release spring applied brakes. So if there's no hydraulic pressure, the brakes apply if there's a electrical disturbance, the uh there'd probably be a solenoid in the hydraulic power pack, which would dump all the pressure and the brakes would apply. Now the tandem emergency brakes there's two of them there, and i can only assume that.

But i assume from the photos, because we can see one cherry red danger, red painted uh pickle fork that opens the brakes and essentially for service. It's only for service that those should be on there and it clamps them open. We see one on a break still on the mangled wreckage and we also see one laying in the dirt that maybe wasn't affixed as well and got flung off those emergency brakes are in tandem because they are so critical. If one fails, you still need another break.

So these two emergency brakes were slowly creeping on and dragging on the main, cable and shutting production down. It was shutting down the aerial tramway, and this had been going on for an extended period of time. So, in his infinite wisdom, the qualified and competent qualified, incompetent where's that come from that comes from his company technician, decided to disable the brakes. Thinking and i'll tell you why he thought this thinking that there is no possible conceivable way that the pull the hull cable could break.

It's inconceivable in his 30 years of being a technician. It's inconceived he's never seen it happen, inconceivable that it would break i'll, show you why he thought that and i'll also tell you why he was dead wrong mining been around for, since christ was a cowboy, the second oldest profession in the world, grubbing in the dirt. To pay for the first oldest profession in the world, there was lots of mining happening in western australia in 1829. That's my pneumonic aid for a mining engineer from the hearts mountain of germany, wilhelm albert western australia, wilhelm albert 1829.

He got a call to go down on the mine, they had broken a hoist chain back in the day. The hoist chain would have been forged out of rot steel or wrought iron. Of course, cast iron has so much graphite precipitated out of it that when you drill into it - and you can see this yourself when you drill into it, the chips are real small and they're black. You touch them with your finger, it's almost like you rubbed them with a pencil because there's graphite nodules in there they take that cast iron and they beat the snot out of it.

Beating all of the car. Well, not all, but some of the carbon nodules out of there, making it a stronger metal, as wilhelm albert was the first to discover metal fatigue and what metal fatigue is is a failure of a metal under cyclic loading well below its yield strength. So it was nowhere near where it would break, but because it had cycled so many millions of times the chain had broken. So what wilhelm albert did he thought to himself azo? We can do a wrought iron wire, which will still be very, very flexible and just bunch up those wires so that if one of these wires has metal fatigue and breaks the other ones, it's not a catastrophic failure in the chain.

If you have metal fatigue and a link breaks, it's a catastrophic failure, but in a cable well this isn't. A cable cable is anything under 3 8, maybe 10 millimeters just to be pedantic. This is a wire rope and what it consists of is a single wire into a strand twisted into a strand which are twisted into lays - and this is a very interesting mechanical device because as it flexes each one of these wires needs to move on itself. It's very, very strong and very, very reliable in the center of this is either a size all or nylon.

Just a synthetic rope and its main function is just to hold the space and hold lubrication because, as the wire works around the shifts moves all over the place, it needs to be able to move. If one of these is going to break it's going to be at the seizing where it's not allowed to move, you see this also in electronic components that have a big glob of solder at the wire it doesn't break in the middle of the wire it breaks Where it's seized at the solder, the beautiful thing about wire rope is, you can have broken wires and not lose any appreciable strength. In fact, in order to splice wire rope together, they cut each strand at different distances, and then they rely on the internal friction for it not to unravel the only need for splicing wire rope is to have these separated by a certain distance each one of these Strands that you you break in the lay has to be a certain distance apart and the cable will never come apart, even though it's completely broken, it's just broken in different spots. So that is why the technician thought that it's inconceivable, that the hall rope would break.

Okay, so how did this whole thing go down? These aerial tramways are very well understood, very well engineered and generally very well maintained, however, not in this case, as witnessed by the box full of arms and legs at the bottom of the mountain, not to be ghoulish, but it's a so. The fact that the brakes were dragging meant that there was an increased load on the haul cable recall that the drive motors down at the bottom drive pulley were very likely dc, which means they have so much torque. They could very easily shred the cable. So if you have a brake, that's clamping down slowly and you have a drive motor.

That's slowly, ramping up its torque. It's going to pull right through that brake as it goes around the shift. It's going to break some strands and continually if this is happening over the course of a month continually. You are going to have more and more broken strands and then, if your inspection criteria does not catch that window, you're not going to find the broken strands.

So that was the first failure and all these deaths could have been prevented. Had they just fixed the brakes. In the first place, because then it wouldn't have damaged the whole rope and then the technician wouldn't have proceeded to at some point: get sick and tired of fixing. The faults acknowledge, acknowledge, acknowledge and he wouldn't have backed off those breaks now, because this was dragging the cable was already weakened on its last strands and as it got to the top close to the the the shiv the change in direction.

It finally gave up the ghost and sent the the tin trap careening down the mountainside, so essentially it's a management problem in my opinion, because the technician should not have the latitude to make the call to remove safety breaks, it's utterly absurd. Yes, clearly, the technician up and the souls of 14 people and one orphan lie on his head. However, the management of the corporation in which he here's the thing we're talking about worried about ai, not so worried about ai, artificial intelligence, because we have had analog artificial intelligence for 200 years and that is taking people and dehumanizing them and putting them into tiny little. Pigeonhole cogs in the modern corporation now a corporation, it has one purpose: profit, charlie munger, it's famously said, and i'm paraphrasing uh show me your incentives and i'll show you the and i'll tell you the outcomes.

So if you have a a device, a contrivance, which is a machine, a corporation whose only desire is for profit, whose only purpose it's only at is profit, then you need to have set up some very strong framework so that that quest for profit doesn't kill. People and that's where standards and governing bodies come in this is uh standards. You you don't like that standard. We can grab another one, we'll invent a new standard, but the standards are essentially all the same they're all written in blood.

We know when we issue maintenance or don't do the right thing that people are going to get mangled up so the american society of mechanical engineers. This is b30.5, it's 2004.. It shows you what the wire rope maintenance is. All you got to do is follow the rules.

You don't even got to be a hero, all that guy needed to do the technician all he needed to do was fix the brakes. It's an emergency brake, it's not working shut. The thing down the profit is not worth 14 people dying, and yet there it is laid plain before you on the side of a mountain. You don't need to be a hero, just follow the rules.

Now i ask you fellow humans, in the advancement of considered discourse. You we, you enter into a contract with a company that is, i'm going to buy a ticket up your aerial tramway i get a ticket, but also implicit in that contract. The quid pro quo is that you will maintain and apply the regulations if there's a breach of contract there is that not fraud? Is it gross negligence? That is negligence that wanted to cause harm, or is it just negligence or is it none of the above? At any point, one thing could have been done differently, one thing could have done been done properly and those people would still be with us thanks for watching. I appreciate, as i say, your considered comments and if i'm wrong, please call me on it.

We can discuss it. This is a discussion, it's not anything but.

By AvvE

15 thoughts on ““It is not known why the pulling cable snapped.””
  1. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars istvan meissler says:

    This was a sad video, but a very very worthwhile one. Because of your explanation, with evidence, it will be harder to shift the blame by those who bear guilt. It will also hopefully make others more aware and more likely to do the right thing (ie: follow standard procedures to ensure safety). Thank you.

  2. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Rick S says:

    Worked industrial construction for over 18 years – I've seen large diameter wire cables, that passed inspection, snap under load.
    There is a darned good reason they tell you not to stand near something that is being lifted with a crane !

  3. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Jeffrey Mathys says:

    NOT wrong! 100%, straight up, correct. This guy is very astute and he gives a damn. He is fluent in Engineer-ese, French, Material Science/Chemistry and choice limericks. In other videos, he plays the joker, but he is no joke. This was his best work. Keep it up Brother.

  4. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars krazyhartin says:

    When I done the 'Safe Pass' course (its like a health and safety tuition for construction/engineer/labor of all sorts workers), the tutor should us real images and testimonies of employees, employers ignoring safety regulations at work. Some of the images have stayed with me. The health and safety regulations is not made up bs of possible accidents, they're based on real accidents that have cost lives to be ruined or lost. The one thing the tutor told us, was to "use your common sense".

  5. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Rick Edwards says:

    Any company that allows equipment to operate with safeties bypassed without CEO level sign off is committing a crime in my opinion. In the Navy for certain unsafe but necessary work only the Captain could sign off on the work and so on his head it hung. Additionally it should need to be resigned off weekly. Then maybe pencil dicked middling managers would stop directing frontline guys to commit crimes.

  6. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Jarrod Holden says:

    I spent almost 20yrs logging and I know that shit breaks. I've seen so many things fall out of the sky you never stand under it.( not supposed to) . Not sure how big the mainline was but the skidding line breaks all the damn time. Just stupid lazy,greedy people

  7. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars James Metalarc says:

    a Glass is half filled only if made that way from empty. " hey button head you only filled it up halfway !". A glass half empty is only made that way if from being full because when you pour fluids out its headed towards being empty ……..why is this one such a head scratcher ?

  8. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars HotAxleBox says:

    Jesus I had no idea the tech disabled the emergency brakes.
    If I did that I'm my job and there wasn't even an accident, I'd be off to prison!

    Qualified and competence, in this case, I feel is less of a factor as any firms training structure is only as good as the person who wrote it. I've been on courses where the qualified trainer isn't very understanding of the system he's teaching and can't answer basic questions about it. Yet, passes me out as competent.

    This brings up the other issue of such safety critical training being done in house versus separate to production delivery. The latter being far more effective in my eyes.

    Keep up the good work with your uploads, greetings from ol' fuel-less England.

  9. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars John Sohn says:

    My wife and I rode the Monarch Crest tram in the Rockies this year on our vacation. Built in 66. Nothing but fiberglass and plastic windows keeping us from plummeting to our doom. It was a great trip. They really do try their best keeping the old girl chugging along. We talked with the mechanic it's cool too see what's still original and what they have replaced over the years

  10. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Louise & Sam Chapman says:

    Every job includes a certain amount of responsibility for the safety and well-being of others. The importance of that responsibility can be highlighted by either, what goes wrong or what goes right. Take care of the customer and he'll take care of you!
    A little love of neighbour goes a long way. Matt22.36to40

  11. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Straight Whitemale says:

    I supplied water purification’s membranes to many industries. One industry kidney dialysis has built in safety features , one such feature is temperature. The temp alarm kept sounding and finally the technician of the calls just disconnected the alarm. Eight people receiving treatment all died slowly probably no pain but!

  12. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars blackhawks81H says:

    I'm not even a professional enginerd, and I'm definitely NOT the world's most safety centric man.. (firefighting is a mental illness). But the absolute second someone says, or even thinks "there's no way this part/thing/doo-dad could ever break/fail".. I'm immediately shutting that shit down and fucktuple reinforcing the MF before anyone other than myself is allowed to use it again. It's just like saying "sure is quiet tonight" in a firehouse/ambulance/hospital ER. You've said the magic words that always summon the ever hateful Mr. Murphy.

  13. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Sandro Antenori says:

    So true, engineers and technitions need to be tought a lesson in getting proud to their work and being able to stand up for it. So proud on the occasions when I denied wrongdoing of technical services demanded by the big Boss, He knew he was asking for violating standards that could harm or kill people.

  14. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars bassmith448 bassist says:

    Your passion for all things engineering is amazing. If I buy a ticket on that team, I expect to survive the trip up and back. Anything less is breach of contract. I hope the relatives of the dead and injured were able to get some justice. It is Italy though.

  15. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Dan Gerszewski says:

    To your question about the law– there's a concept of "depraved negligence" or "depraved indifference" which might be applicable, and is certainly interesting. Basically depraved indifference is "you knew this would be likely to kill someone, but not a specific person, yet you proceeded", and in US states where it exists it's often treated as second-degree murder (I think in old English common law that's "Murder without malice aforethought" which might be more familiar to our Canadian brothers). A classic example would be throwing rocks off a highway overpass– sure you're not intending to kill that particular person whose car you hit, but when you started throwing large rocks into traffic, you knew it was likely that SOMEONE could get hit and the circumstances would make that a fatal hit. Another example used in law textbooks is adulterating or selling fake medications– you don't know for sure someone will die if you sell fake heart medication, but a reasonable person should realize that if someone has a serious condition and gets your fake medication which does nothing, they will die or be seriously injured.

    An engineer, who is held to the standard of what a properly trained professional ought to know and realize on the basis of their education and experience, should certainly know that safety brakes are life-critical. They should also realize that metal fatigue is a phenomenon that exists. And while it's less widely known, they probably should also have enough education to realize that a history of safety is actually a good predictor of an accident, not of no future accidents, for a wide range of reasons (complacency, wear, inattentiveness by staff to processes thought to be excessive, etc).

    To me, morally and potentially legally, this is no different than if he snuck into the car park and snipped the e-brake cables on random cars: he was disabling a critical emergency device that would be needed most in a situation where it was the proverbial "angel restraint net", the only device stopping mass casualties.

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