Chairlift Accident Injures 7 at Maine Ski Resort
Photo courtesy of Hank Margolis
A heart-stopping incident occurred for skiers using a chairlift at Maine’s Sugarloaf Mountain Resort Saturday, as the lift stopped, and began sliding backwards down the mountain, causing riders to jump off, the Associated Press via ABC News reported.
About 230 were aboard the King Pine quad lift at the time of the accident, and those who did not leap off before it was stopped were evacuated. Seven people were injured, with three taken to the hospital with what are believed to be non-life-threatening injuries.
"It was really scary," said David Segre, 42, of Falmouth, who was in the lift line. "It was like a gear had let loose and it was slowly picking up speed going the wrong way."
"So all the chairs ... they were slipping backward. And as gravity works they started to go faster and faster and people were jumping off at the lower levels," he said.
Segre believes the lift went the wrong way for about a minute, traveling 200 to 300 yards before stopping. One person who couldn’t jump off went around the loading area and back up the mountain on the other side, he said.
Susan Haws Clifford, commenting to WMTW of Portland, Maine on Facebook, said that she and her daughter were able to jump away from the chairlift unharmed.
"My daughter and I were on the lift when it started heading backwards really fast," she said. "We were able to unbind our skis and jump off uninjured."
Resort spokesman Ethan Austin said the accident is under investigation, but the lifts do recieve daily safety inspections.
A 35-year-old lift at Sugarloaf was replaced in 2011 when a derailment caused a group of chairs to fall more than 25 feet to the ground in 2010, injuring eight.
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