- Texas man arrested for powder-letter hoax
- Islamic State opens ‘marriage bureau’ for single jihadists
- Drone almost blocks California firefighting planes
- Tornado rips off roofs, downs trees near Boston
- GOP: Environmental rules keeping agents from accessing border
- John Kerry: Millions displaced by religious fighting in 2013
- Federal appeals court rules against Virginia’s gay marriage ban
- White House says Russia ‘losing’ war in Ukraine
- Hamas turns to North Korea for weapons deal, Iran for money
- Syrian casualties surge as jihadis consolidate
Ski-lift failure sends 8 falling to Maine slope
Recent deep snow softens landing
Question of the Day
CARRABASSETT VALLEY, Maine | A 35-year-old chairlift set for upgrades or replacement failed Tuesday at a popular Maine ski resort, sending skiers plummeting up to 30 feet, though they fell into “ungroomed” snow from the Northeast’s recent blizzard, which softened the landing.
Franklin Memorial Hospital spokeswoman Jill Gray said eight people were taken to her hospital from the Sugarloaf Resort in Carrabassett Valley, about 120 miles north of Portland.
Ms. Gray wouldn’t comment on the patients’ conditions, but said they included children and adults. One person was transferred to Maine Medical Center in Portland. The resort’s ski patrol evacuated the lift after people had fallen from five chairs.
The resort said the lift, which went into service in 1975 and recently passed an inspection, was set for improvements but wouldn’t say when.
Rebecca London, one of the skiers who tumbled into the snow, told the Associated Press that her face hit a retaining bar, but that her goggles spared her from serious injury. She credited new snow on the trail underneath the lift with a soft landing; the resort said it got 20 to 22 inches in Monday’s storm.
“Thankfully, they didn’t groom it last night, so they left it like it was,” she said. “So the snow was all soft.”
Most of the skiers who fell appeared to be stunned but OK, she said, and the ski patrol was on the scene within minutes to treat the injured.
Ms. London, 20, of Carrabassett Valley, said she wasn’t hurt badly enough to go to a hospital.
Jay Marshall, a ski coach hunkered down in a cold wind while on a lift next to the broken one, said that his lift was moving, but that the broken one was not.
There was a “loud snapping noise” after the lift restarted, he said, then some screams.
“The next thing I know, it was bouncing up and down like a yo-yo,” said Mr. Marshall, of Carrabassett Valley. He said it was too difficult to watch, so he looked away.
“It was terrifying,” he said.
At the time of the accident, high winds were buffeting Maine a day after a blizzard swept across the region. Sugarloaf said the wind was gusting to about 40 mph, but it’s unclear whether the accident was wind-related or mechanical.
The spillway chairlift was properly licensed and inspected, said Doug Dunbar of the Maine Department of Professional and Financial Regulation. The East Spillway double chairlift is 4,013 feet long and nearly reaches the summit of 4,327-foot Sugarloaf, the state’s second-tallest mountain. It went into service in 1975 and was modified in 1983, according to Sugarloaf officials.
TWT Video Picks
By David Keene
Allowing states to innovate could reduce dependency on bureaucracy
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- Iraqi Christians rally at White House: 'Obama, Obama, where are you?'
- Illegal immigrants demand representation in White House meetings
- White House defends Kerry failure to broker Middle East cease-fire
- Tennessee Gov. Haslam slams White House for secret dump of illegals in his state
- Border surge puts Obama legacy on immigration at stake
- Federal appeals court rules against Virginia's gay marriage ban
- Federal judge rules D.C. ban on handguns in public is unconstitutional
- White House says Russia 'losing' war in Ukraine
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq