- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 25, 2015

CARRABASSETT VALLEY, Maine (AP) - A Maine state report released on Wednesday confirmed that mechanical failure caused a chairlift accident that injured seven people at the Sugarloaf ski area last winter.

The accident happened in March when the lift was carrying more than 200 skiers, causing many to jump off. It was the second in five years to cause injuries at Sugarloaf.

The failure of a coupling that connects two gearboxes resulted in the lift reversing direction, and then an anti-roll-back device failed to engage as intended, the Office of Professional and Occupational Regulation’s report said. The office provided the report to The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The state’s report confirmed findings of a team of engineers that released a preliminary review and investigation in the wake of the accident.

Ski lift owners and operators “need to work with manufacturers to determine what system updates/upgrades may be available for their lifts that would increase lift safety and reliability,” the report states.

Sugarloaf is spending $1.5 million to make improvements after the malfunction.

The state report also said the accident scene was not maintained as it should have been, as some of the lift’s components were adjusted or removed before the investigation. That made it impossible to completely recreate the conditions of the accident, the report said.

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