West Kelowna News
Four injured in chairlift accident
6: 45 a.m. Sunday Mar. 2 update:
Crystal Mountain general manager Mike Morin says those injured on the hill in Saturdays accident are recovering in hospital.
"It was three of our staff, family members, who got injured and a guest. They are all in the hospital now, no life threatening injuries. They are all going to be OK."
Witnesses report the unoccupied chair, that hit the lift post causing the chain reaction cable fall, was swinging violently before the incident. According to the weather report there was no wind at the time of the accident. Morin says he'd also like to know why it was swinging.
"Exactly, that's what we want answers on. I honestly don't know. The lift inspector is talking to all witnesses right now to try and get the facts and they've been around lift incidents for many years and I'm hoping that their detective know-how finds a root cause. Because I don't want anyone getting hurt on the lift. We are followed by the safety authority, they are very rigorous to make sure the lifts are safe. They come up once or twice a year to make sure everything is right. For everyday that we are open there is a day of maintenance on the lifts," says the mountain's GM.
Morin hopes the mountain will open next weekend, but it depends on the safety inspectors.
"The lift inspectors are here right now assessing the damage and assessing what happened exactly, because that lift has been in operation since 1967 and I've been here for 20 years and we never have had anything close to this on that lift. So I honestly don't know (when we will be open)."
The hill is a big employer. Until it is up and running again 60 people are out of work.
Send photos and video to [email protected]
Update 1 p.m.:
Four people have been taken to hospital after an accident involving a chair lift at Crystal Mountain in West Kelowna.
A cable from the chairlift reportedly came loose from the lift, sending one chair into a tower and crashing to the ground.
The chair was apparently 25 feet in the air when it fell.
Four people were injured in the incident, two critically.
An ambulance attendant tells Castanet one victim had to be airlifted from the scene, while three others were transported by ground to Kelowna General Hospital.
"We do know that we had four patients – two were critical, two not so critical," says Joe Puskaric, District Duty Supervisor with BC Ambulance.
"Two were transported by basic life support crew to the hospital and one was transported by helicopter and the fourth was transported by our advanced life support crew to Kelowna General Hospital."
Three members of the ski patrol and one guest were injured. They range in age from 18-35.
Genders and ages are not being released.
Crystal Mountain general manager Mike Morin says an additional 15 people were rescued from the lift, and there were no reports of any injuries among these people.
The mountain is closed pending an investigation by the BC Safety Authority.
Were you on the chairlift? If you were, send us your story. If you have video and photos send them to [email protected]
Update 12:30 p.m.
Witness reports to Castanet indicate a cable on one of the chairlifts fell from the lift and at least one chair fell to the ground.
Update: Four people are confirmed injured after an incident on a chairlift at Crystal Mountain.
Three ambulances are on scene.
The two chairlifts on the mountain are shut down, although it has not been confirmed if a chair actually fell from one of the lifts.
However witnesses at the scene have reported to Castanet that they saw four people fall from the lift.
Castanet has a reporter on scene and will have more information as it becomes available.
By Jo Slade
Reports of a crashed chairlift at Crystal Mountain - no further details at this time, more to come.
Castanet reporter Ragnar Haagen is on his way to the scene.
----- With files from Ragnar Haagen and CBC News.
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