Monday, March 19, 2018

Out of Control Ski Lift Sends Riders Flying Into the Air

At least eight people have been injured after a malfunctioning ski lift threw people from their seats at a ski resort in Georgia.

Skiers and snowboarders were forced to jump from the faulty chairlift on Friday as their seats hurtled backwards down the mountain, with some people falling from carriages at speed, in what one witness likened to “a scene from a Final Destination film”.

Videos of the accident at Gudauri resort in Georgia show a pile-up of broken and twisted chairs at the bottom of the lift as bystanders scream at people to jump.

An emergency stop led to the chairs sliding back at high speed, the economy minister, Dimitry Kumsishvili, told journalists, adding that the incident was “allegedly caused by an electricity outage”.

“The interior ministry has launched a criminal probe into alleged violation of safety norms,” he said.

The health minister, Davit Sergeenko, said the affected tourists – who were Georgiain, Russian, Swedish and Ukrainian – did not suffer serious injuries.

“Two of them including a pregnant woman from Sweden were airlifted to a hospital in Tbilisi,” he said.

A spokesperson for Doppelmayr, the Austrian manufacturer of the chairlift, said two technicians were in transit to Georgia to respond to the incident. No initial cause was given.

The fixed-grip four-seat chairlift was installed at the Georgian ski resort in 2007. The design includes an emergency brake and backup power generator, the company said.

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