The family of a boy who was seriously injured after falling from Massachusetts ski resort chairlift has been awarded $3.3 million in a jury verdict against the ski area operators. The incident happened in 2015 at Wachusett Mountain Ski Area in Princeton when a 12-year-old boy fell an estimated 30 feet from a moving chairlift after hanging for more than three minutes.
The accident happened March 8, 2015, when Alex accidentally sat on the arm of chairlift when loading onto the high-speed quad Polar Express lift. Alex immediately slipped off and ended up hanging on with his back to the mountain, and his legs were under the chair.
According to the lawsuit a person on the lift grabbed Alex, and there were immediate yells for the lifty to stop the lift, but it didn’t. Alex held on for 3 minutes before hitting a snow gun at which point the person holding him lost his grip. He fell approximately 30 feet and suffered a severe concussion, five fractured vertebrae and a broken pelvis. Alex’s lawyer says he has mostly recovered but will likely have a lifetime of back discomfort.
Wachusett Mountain Ski Area President Jeff Crowley issued a statement via e-mail Tuesday:
“Wachusett Mountain acknowledges an incident occurred back in March 2015 that affected a young customer. Unfortunately, a 12 year old boy fell from the ‘Polar Express Lift’ which services the summit and advanced terrain trails. The ski patrol responded to the scene immediately and transported the youth to the base where he was transported by ambulance to UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester. As a result of the incident, our guest sustained injuries which did not require any surgery and he has made a very good recovery. Wachusett Mountain takes guest safety very seriously and conducted a full investigation with staff, witnesses, and officials from the Massachusetts Tramway board. As a result of the investigation and a review of our internal policies and procedures, Wachusett intends to strive for a 100% Bar Down Policy. We will work with skiers and boarders on ski lift safety to endeavor that all persons ride the lift with the restraining bar down.”
Don’t have to be a lawyer to read between the lines of this statement.
A couple key facts are not included in the article. Some of which include; if the lifty had reason for not hearing the calls for help (earphones, speakers playing music); if kid fell immediately on boarding why did he hang on, and were there any other people on the lift or on the ground that witnessed it. What are your thoughts?