Sugarloaf Ski Lift Accident Traps Hundreds of Skiers

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A ski lift at Sugarloaf Ski Resort in Maine broke down on Tuesday, trapping at least 200 skiers and causing several others to fall to the ground, a resort manager tells CNN.

One of the news site's employees, Robb Atkinson, was vacationing at the resort and was initally trapped on the lift after it halted to a stop. "I felt a jerk," he said, adding that he heard "screams from skiers below" and saw at least three chairs drop 20 to 30 feet to the ground.
Ethan Austin, a Sugarloaf spokesman, said that the Spillway East lift derailed at approximately 10:30 a.m. ET, when the cable skipped over the edge of the pulley. Six people were taken to local hospitals, but their injuries did not seem to be life-threatening, the rep said.

An estimated 220 people were on the 100-plus chairs on the lift, and are currently being evacuated. According to CNN's employee, skiers had to slide off the chair lift into a swing before being lowered down to the ground to ski down to the base of the mountain.

According to SkiCanada.org, skiers should always have their ski poles in their inside hand and in front of them when getting onto a chair lift. You should also make sure to look over your outside shoulder for the oncoming chair. Always lower the safety rail and watch out for scarves and/or loose clothing, which can get caught in the cable system.

Another good tip is to pre-arrange a meeting place in case you're separated from your friends or family while on the lift or the mountain. Cell phones and two-way radios are must-haves to stay in contact, too.

Are you at Sugarloaf Ski Resort right now? If not, do you know anyone who's there? What is your take on what happened at the Maine vacation spot? Let us know in the comments or tweet us @jsykdotcom. Want to study up on ski safety? Check out more tips at the National Ski Areas Association site.

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