March 16 (UPI) — At least 10 people were injured when a ski lift in Georgia, a mountainous country in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia, malfunctioned.
Two accident victims, one Swedish and one Ukrainian, were taken to the hospital with serious but not life-threatening injuries. The breakdown occurred at the ski resort Gudauri.
It’s not yet clear what caused the lift to break down, but a glitch of some kind caused chairs to begin moving backwards at high speed. Chairs slammed into each other as they zipped around the terminal at the bottom of the slope.
“According to initial information, Sadzele ski lift in Gudauri stopped working, chairs crashed into each other with riders suspended in the air, causing health injury of medium gravity,” the state-owned resort manager, Mountain Resorts Development Company, said in a news release. “As a result, according to preliminary data, 10 people were injured.”
Video of the incident showed several skiers jumping from out of control ski lift chairs to avoid being crushed.
“The movement of the lift stopped and a minute later we drove back,” one eyewitness, Ukrainian Iryna Iadak, told CNN. “The speed increased, it was out of control. The lift could not be stopped. People began to jump from different altitudes, panic began. Many did not manage to jump off and were thrown out from the impact.”