Several Injured in Ski Lift Accident at Sugarloaf [UPDATE]
Over 200 people had to evacuated after a ski lift at Sugarloaf Mountain malfunctioned. State officials are investigating to determine what caused the chairlift to roll backwards.
In a release published on the Sugarloaf website, officials say that the King Pine Lift experienced what's being called a 'rollback' at around 11:30 this morning. 7 people were injured and four of those were taken to local hospitals with injuries that are not believed to life-threatening. No one was injured in the evacuation process.
A witness that was on the lift told ABC News, "Probably a ten second backwards ride. From what I heard, the people that got hurt were at the bottom...It stopped and then started to feed backwards. It went backwards about 200 yards. We waited on the lift about an hour and they evacuated us...about an hour and fifteen minutes. It was just starting to get cold when they got us off."
The release defines what happened as the lift rolling backward, in this case the distance of 9 chairs. At no time did the lift 'de-rope.'
"The King Pine Quad is a 4 passenger monocable fixed grip quad built in 1988 and manufactured by Borvig. It is located on the eastern side of the mountain. King Pine is 3,400 feet long with a vertical of 1,074 feet. The chair moves at a speed of 450 feet per minute and the chairs are roughly 51 feet apart. There are a total of 122 chairs on the lift, which is powered by a 400 horsepower motor. It has a transportation capacity of 2,100 skiers per hour."
Officials say the chairlift receives routine maintenance and daily inspections. It's also inspected annually by the State Board of Elevator and Tramway Safety. Officials from that state board are now investigating to try and determine what caused the rollback.
The King Pine lift will remain closed until the investigation into the cause of the accident is complete. All other lifts will continue to operate as usual.
Sugarloaf officials said on the resort's website that 'Sugarloaf is committed to the safety of its guests and employees.'