2 non-skiing deaths at Heavenly
March 3, 2003
A 28-year-old woman died from a possible asthma attack when she became frightened while riding down Gunbarrel chairlift at Heavenly Ski Resort.
Amy Kwan of San Francisco was pronounced dead by paramedics after she became unconscious on the chairlift.
“She seemed to be panicking about taking the lift down,” said El Dorado County deputy coroner Peter Van Arnum. “She just collapsed on the chair.”
The lift takes skiers from 8,250 feet down to the California Lodge area at an elevation of 6,540 feet.
Scott Douglass, a South Lake Tahoe Fire Department battalion chief, said an ambulance and engine were waiting for her when the lift stopped. He speculated the quick arrival of medical personnel was because information was passed by people yelling from chair to chair until it was received by the chair operator.
“Skiers have a way of getting that communication out real quick,” Douglass said.
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Friends who were with the woman attempted to calm her down, Van Arnum said. Paramedics tried to resuscitate her at the bottom of the chairlift with heart paddles and CPR. She was transported to Barton Memorial Hospital but efforts revive her were unsuccessful.
An autopsy is scheduled for today.
About the same time at 3 p.m., a 37-year-old man was being resuscitated at Boulder Lodge by Tahoe-Douglas paramedics.
Officials said the man did not die from a skiing injury, but no further details were available.