Skiers fall from chairlift at Maine resort
December 28th, 2010
11:58 AM ET

Skiers fall from chairlift at Maine resort

[Update 11:58 a.m.] Rescuers were swiftly bringing stranded skiers down from a broken-down chairlift at western Maine's Sugarloaf Mountain resort, CNN Newsource employee Robb Atkinson said.

"It's incredibly organized. They know what they're doing," Atkinson said while still suspended 30 to 40 feet above the ground. "They're moving incredibly fast."

The accident occurred on the resort's Spillway East slope, which runs all the way to the top of the mountain, Maureen Atkinson said.

[Update 11:40 a.m.] Five stranded skiers have been evacuated from the chairlift that broke down Tuesday at Sugarloaf Mountain, Maine, CNN Newsource employee Robb Atkinson said.

Officials with the ski resort said it would take 60 to 90 minutes to rescue all the trapped skiers.

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[Original post] A gust of wind derailed a chairlift cable Tuesday morning, according to a resort spokesman,  sending skiers tumbling.

At least three people were injured, said CNN Newsource employee Robb Akinson, who was among about 100 skiers stranded on the chairlift 30 to 40 feet off the ground after the accident.

"We heard screams from skiers down below that skiers were off the lift, and we've been trapped ever since," he told CNN's Tony Harris.

Skiers would have to climb down one at a time using harnesses and ropes, Atkinson said.

"We've got a whole lot of people throwing ropes over the lift right now," Atkinson's wife, Maureen, said.

Robb Atkinson said the temperature was about 8 degrees with a 20 mph to 30 mph wind. The resort received 20-22 inches of fresh snow with the weekend blizzard, he said.

A spokesman for the ski resort said the lift cable derailed between 10:30 and 10:45 a.m., and all the chairs on that cable fell to the ground.

See CNN's full coverage of the accident
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Filed under: Maine • U.S.
soundoff (327 Responses)
  1. helenhull102951

    Hey, are these trapped people going to get the same treatment as those Chilian miners?? Afterall they were trapped in the freezing cold snow.. I'll bet the government of this country or the media does'nt give these folks a second thought after this story.. And for the simple fact that they are not FORINGERS of another country!! Now if the people of this story were all FORINGERS OR ILLEAGAL IMMEGRENTS they would get the golden key to the United Ststes and all the media hoopla that those poor Chilian miners got and are still getting... It's Old news people send them home, or are they going to be more of the already (3) million other ILLEAGAL IMMIGRENTS this government allows to stay here to collect every kind of benefit we Americans pay into and never will recieve... This would not surprise me at all!! It's time to send them and the others back to where ever they come from... This American has had enough of this B-LL SH-T!! Or is there this gov to afraid to try??

    December 28, 2010 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  2. skier

    Skied at Sunday River today in freezing windy weather. Was not aware of what happened at Sugarloaf but each time I rode the lift with children by my side, I found myself looking up at the cable worried it might blow off the pully wheels. Can't understand why there isn't a safety mechanism at each tower to prevent the cable from falling to the ground – just a simple metal loop over the top of each wheel to catch the cable if it derails. Seems they should be built that way going forward...

    December 28, 2010 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Squaw ex-pat

    Not that any of us really needs another reason to disbelieve CNN but this is black-and-white wrong:
    "A spokesman for the ski resort said the lift cable derailed between 10:30 and 10:45 a.m., and all the chairs on that cable fell to the ground."

    All the chairs on that cable did not fall to the ground and there is NO WAY a spoksman for the ski resort said that but I'm sure CNN doesn't want the truth to get in the way of a sensational story.

    On a seperate note, congratulations to Sugarloaf Ski Patrol. This is the day they train for but hope never happens. Everything I've heard indicates they handled the situation spectacularly and they should be recognized for it. Thank you Ski Patrol.

    December 28, 2010 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Zacharia

    Mat. These people are so irritable. This is why brother Smith brought our people west. Be thankful you live in Deseret.

    December 28, 2010 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. phil

    Some congressman will have a brother-in-law invent seatbelts and airbags for ski lifts, then Congress will mandate their use. That's how it works. (except on a school bus)

    December 28, 2010 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  6. kaydee

    Why does every discussion have to turn into a bickering match? Why do people who don't know how to spell or punctuate feel the need to show their lack of education? Even if you don't like the way the story was covered just take the information, digest it, and move on. Happy Holidays.

    December 28, 2010 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
  7. bob

    Listen-all of those ski lift towers have pulleys and bearings in them. They need to be greased on a regular basis and extremes of temperature will make this more frequently required. A bearing failure will cause a derailment, no question about that. If the state inspectors ran the lift without any passengers on it, the lift would appear to run normally. If loaded up with the weight of passengers, any parts not maintained, will fail. It is as simple as that.
    Why do you think elevators are tested and certified with actual weights loaded to near capacity. State inspectors always go by the operator's word that all is maintained. Do you really think that state inspectors climb every tower to check that all the towers have had maintenence performed on them? I think not.

    December 29, 2010 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Scared

    The lift company is to blame for any incident involving the lift. The mountain or the state it is in or the weather are blameless.

    January 9, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Earth wind and fire

    Why can't we be friends why can't we be friends.

    February 15, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Ryan

    Um, did you know there are revolutions going on in the middle east?

    February 18, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. JohnMcLaugh

    rachael. congratulations for your lifelong endurance of 60 mph winds in the rocky mountains and regular subzero temps.

    December 28, 2010 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  12. Frank

    I guarantee its colder in the white mountains of Maine than it is in the Rocky's. In January it pretty normal to be -20 degrees. The worst weather in the US is reported to be on Mt Washington: highest ever recorded wind speed. Most ski resorts in Colorado have much milder temperatures.

    December 28, 2010 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  13. haarkonen

    i live in the rockies as well and find your statement callous and silly.

    December 28, 2010 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  14. Matt

    So if you were riding on this ski lift... you wouldn't have been stuck? What is your point?

    December 28, 2010 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
  15. Dave Bradshaw

    They are not trapped-they are stuck---there is a difference-Stop Hyping things up CNN

    December 28, 2010 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
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