Out-of-control ski lift stuck in reverse sends skiers flying; videos

Out-of-control ski lift stuck in reverse sends skiers flying; videos

Outdoors

Out-of-control ski lift stuck in reverse sends skiers flying; videos

A malfunctioning ski lift at a resort in the country of Georgia became stuck in reverse and at twice the speed, throwing skiers and snowboarders out of the chairs and creating a pile of chairs at the bottom of the lift.

The incident occurred Friday at the Gudauri resort and left at least 10 people injured, including two seriously: a pregnant woman from Sweden and a tourist from Ukraine, the Georgian Health Minister David Sergeenko told Interfax news agency, according to RT.

As the chairs neared the bottom of the lift, skiers and snowboarders were being urged to jump from the chair before it reached bottom. Videos show them scrambling to safety, though one shows a skier being tossed at least 20 feet.

“People who fell under the ‘meat grinder’ after the chairs collided received numerous injuries,” Peter Knyshov from Ukraine wrote on Facebook, according to RT.

From CNN:

Yuri Leontyev, 32, from Belarus, was on the ski lift with two friends when the incident occurred. He filmed people being thrown off of the chairs, landing in the snow.

“The ski lift stopped and started going in reverse,” he told CNN. “We had to jump from it, because at the bottom (of the hill) it was total trash and no chance to stay safe.”

“We jumped, moved to a safe area, and made a short video,” he added

Another eyewitness, Ukrainian Iryna Iadak, was on the lift with her boyfriend.

“The movement of the lift stopped and a minute later we drove back,” she told CNN. “The speed increased, it was out of control. The lift could not be stopped. People began to jump from different altitudes, panic began. Many did not manage to jump off and were thrown out from the impact.”

The Mountain Resorts Development Co. reported to CNN that the injured were taken to the resort’s medical clinic and three ambulance crew members were on the scene.

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There was no immediate explanation as to why an emergency stop button or switch didn’t activate or work immediately.

“The Georgian Interior Ministry has opened a criminal case, citing improper exploitation as a possible cause of the horrific accident,” RT reported. “The resort’s administration has asked the manufacturer of the ski lift, Doppelmayr Group, to send inspectors to the site for a full investigation of the fault.”

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