Seven people were hurt and three required hospitalization on Saturday when a ski lift at Maine’s popular Sugarloaf Mountain Resort malfunctioned, causing chairs to roll backwards on their cable, officials said.
The King Pine lift malfunctioned around 11:30 a.m. as 230 were being transported up the mountain in western Maine, Sugarloaf Mountain Resort confirmed in a news release.
Seven people were injured in total, three were transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries, the release stated.
The lift was evacuated and will remain closed as investigators try to determine what caused the chairs to rollback, in which the chairlift travels backwards on its rope or cable, the statement said, as reported by Reuters. None of the chairs fell from the rope, the statement added.
The lift rolled back a distance equivalent to nine chairs, which are spaced 51 feet apart, the news release said.
The lift is capable of carrying up to 2,100 skiers an hour up the mountain.
This isn’t the first time Sugarloaf Mountain has encountered an accident with its ski lift. In 2010, at least eight people were injured at Sugarloaf when a cable holding chairs derailed and sent five chairs plummeting to the ground below, the Bangor Daily News reported.
Additionally, after a 2011 cable derailment at the Sugarloaf Mountain Resort, the Portland Press-Herald cited a ski safety export who reviewed two years of state inspection reports on the resort’s chairlifts and said they detected an alarming number of problems. They found there were issues with “nearly every lift,” the paper quoted the expert, Richard Penniman, as saying.
Resort representatives at the time the report was released said that all of the problems had been addressed, and that all the problems were due to routine maintenance issues.