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Hospital: 8 injured on Maine ski lift

 Map locates the Sugarloaf ski area
 This photo provided by Betsy Twombly shows a skier being taken down the mountain on a toboggan, left, as other skiers remain on the slope, rear, and ...
 This photo provided by Al Noyes shows skiers and lift chairs on the slope after a lift derailed on the state's tallest ski mountain at the Sugarloaf ...
 This photo provided by Al Noyes shows a skier trying to climb down from a stalled ski lift chair after a lift derailed on the state's tallest ski mou...
 This photo provided by Al Noyes shows skiers and lift chairs on the slope, lower right, after a lift derailed on the state's tallest ski mountain at ...

SKI LIFT ACCIDENT

Map locates the Sugarloaf ski area

Ski Lift Accident

This photo provided by Betsy Twombly shows a skier being taken down the mountain on a toboggan, left, as other skiers remain on the slope, rear, and ...

ADDITION Ski Lift Accident

This photo provided by Al Noyes shows skiers and lift chairs on the slope after a lift derailed on the state's tallest ski mountain at the Sugarloaf ...

ADDITION Ski Lift Accident

This photo provided by Al Noyes shows a skier trying to climb down from a stalled ski lift chair after a lift derailed on the state's tallest ski mou...

ADDITION Ski Lift Accident

This photo provided by Al Noyes shows skiers and lift chairs on the slope, lower right, after a lift derailed on the state's tallest ski mountain at ...

A 35-year-old chair lift set for improvements failed Tuesday in high winds at a popular Maine ski resort, sending skiers _ some of them children _ plummeting into ungroomed snow far below that fell with the Northeast's recent blizzard and softened the landing.
At least eight people, including three children, were taken to a hospital after the double-chair lift at Sugarloaf derailed during a busy vacation week at the resort 120 miles (193 kilometers) north of Portland. Dozens of skiers remained on the crippled lift for an hour or more until patrols could get them down.
The resort was not operating the failed lift and two others early in the day because of winds but deemed them safe to use before the accident at 10:15 a.m., said Ethan Austin, spokesman for Sugarloaf. The resort said the cable that supports the chairs jumped off track, though the exact cause of the failure is being investigated. Wind were gusting at 40 mph (64 kph) at the time.
The resort said the lift, which went into service in 1975 and recently passed an inspection, was set for upgrades or repairs but declined to specify when. About five chairs fell 25 to 30 feet (7 1/2 to 9 meters) onto a ski trail below, officials said.
Most of the skiers who fell appeared to be stunned but okay, she said, and the ski patrol was on the scene within minutes to treat the injured.
There could have been as few as 50 people or as many as 160 on the lift at the time, according to Sugarloaf, owned by Boyne Falls, Michigan-based Boyne Resorts. Sugarloaf workers used a pulley-like system to lower skiers to safety.
Franklin Memorial Hospital Executive Vice President Gerald Cayer said eight people were taken to the hospital in Farmington, 45 miles (72 kilometers) from Sugarloaf. One of the injured was flown to Maine Medical Center in Portland, and a second patient was later transferred to the Maine Medical trauma center.
It's unclear whether the accident was wind-related or mechanical.
The lift was properly licensed and inspected for 2010, said Doug Dunbar of Maine Department of Professional and Financial Regulation. Ski resort chair lifts fall under the jurisdiction of the department's Board of Elevator and Tramway Safety, and two inspectors were dispatched to Sugarloaf, Dunbar said.


Updated : 2021-02-28 09:39 GMT+08:00