Tuesday, March 3, 2009

23 skiers injured as chairlift collapses in Sierra Nevada

At approximately 10:18 am on Monday, March 2nd, a structural failure on tower 4 on Sierra Nevada’s Emille Allais chairlift caused a major incident. Six chairs dropped approximately 6 metres hitting the ground, injuring 23 people. 15 guests were treated at the Hospital San Cecilio and the Hospital de Traumatología in Granada. 8 injured guests were treated for cuts and bruises at a medical centre in the ski resort and walked out on their own later that evening. Most of the guests of the lift located in the Borreguiles area for beginners were ski instructors with their clients. Sierra Nevada Ski Patrol, Guardia Civil, Local Police and the Emergency Department immediately implemented an emergency lift evacuation procedure. At least another 35 people had to be rescued from chairs on the lift.
Hospital reports nine injured guests continue under treatment. One 37 years old woman is in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) with abdominal trauma.
The Emille Allais fixed-grip chairlift (the quad-seater chairs are permanently attached to the haul rope) is a Doppelmayr lift, and was installed in late 80’s. A world-leader in lift design and manufacturing, Doppelmayr lifts are in operation throughout the world and their safety record is excellent.The regional government of Andalucia, Guardia Civil, Doppelmayr and Cetursa, the company that manages the ski resort, has opened an investigation into the incident with the skilift.