Kingfield, Maine (CNN) — Several dozen people were trapped and others were injured Tuesday after a ski lift broke down at Sugarloaf Ski Resort in Maine, causing several people to fall to the ground, according to a CNN employee who was also trapped on the lift.
Robb Atkinson said several people fell from the lift when it came to an abrupt stop during high winds.
“I felt a jerk,” said Atkinson, who was riding the lift with his wife. He also described hearing “screams from skiers below” as he watched at least three chairs drop 20 to 30 feet to the ground.
Ethan Austin, the communications manager for Sugarloaf, said the derailment on one tower of the chair lift happened around 10:30 a.m., when the cable skipped over the edge of the pulley. All of the chairs on the lift fell several feet, and a couple of them hit the ground, he added.
High winds are gusting between 30 and 50 mph in the area, according to CNN Meteorologist Jacqui Jeras.
Austin said there are more than 100 chairs on the lift, and it could take about an hour to an hour and a half to get everyone evacuated from the chairs that are dangling above the resort.
“They’re really moving quite quickly getting everybody off this lift,” Atkinson said.
He estimated that about 100 people were trapped in the other chairs, but Austin could not confirm how many people might still be on the chairs.
The resort is located about 100 miles north of Portland, Maine.
What’s skiing without some life threatening experiences? Heck, the entire sport involves rapid descent down a steep snowy, and sometimes icy, decline on two foot sleds geared for smooth travels.
Don’t get me wrong, I would despise being trapped up on a ski lift or being thrust to the ground by one. However, when you mess with the bull sometimes you get the horns.