Tram report cites inadequate hardware in panel plunge

(Information from: The Oregonian/OregonLive,

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A new report says the Portland Aerial Tram’s decorative metal panels were attached to the vehicles with “inadequate” hardware since the day the tram opened in 2006.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports a system of latches and tethers intended as a failsafe system to prevent the panel from falling off the tram vehicles failed Dec. 4.

It caused a 35-square-foot (3.2-square-meter) panel to plunge an estimated 130 feet (40 meters) to a pedestrian bridge below.

The panel struck a Portland State University student in the head, causing minor injuries.

According to an independent engineering report of that incident provided to the newspaper, the carabiner and tether system that was supposed to prevent a panel from falling was likely poorly designed.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation says it has taken steps to address concerns and a more robust latch and tether system will be installed this summer.