Chairlift closed after brakes fail

23rd March 2015, by Abi Butcher

Ski patrollers regularly practice chairlift rescues. Library picture.

Ski patrollers regularly practice chairlift rescues. Library picture.

A chairlift remains closed as an investigation is carried out in Sugarloaf Mountain Resort in Maine, following major mechanical failure at the weekend that injured seven skiers.

King Pine Chair at Sugarloaf rolled backwards about 450 feet at 11.30am on Saturday morning, injuring seven people and leaving 200 skiers and snowboarders suspended for an hour and a half.

A preliminary investigation by the resort has found that a “major mechanical failure” was to blame, despite the lift’s gearbox passing a routine maintenance test just a day yearlier.

In a statement released yesterday by Sugarloaf’s director of marketing, Ethan Austin, the resort said gearbox failure effectively disconnected the braking system.

“The cause of the gearbox failure and the failure of the drop dog [final breaking sysmte] to deploy as designed both remain under investigation,” Ethan Austin, Sugarloaf’s Director of Marketing said. “It is likely that determining the root cause of these failures will require extensive analysis.”

“Our first concern remains with those who were injured, and those who went through a truly frightening experience,” Austin said in the statement. “Based on what we know now, we’re grateful that this situation wasn’t any worse.”

Three of the injured skiers were taken to hospital, two were discharged later that night and one transferred to another medical centre. 

Back to news

Recent news

Share |