10 year old falls 22 feet from Tahoe ski resort chairlift (UPDATED)
TWIN BRIDGES, Calif. — Lake Valley Fire Department and a Care Flight emergency helicopter were called to respond to an incident at Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort Wednesday, Jan. 27. According to resort officials, a 10-year-old female skier fell approximately 22 feet from the Grandview Express quad chairlift around 11:30 a.m. prompting the emergency response. The girl was part of a school group and reportedly accompanied by an adult.
She was subsequently transported to Barton Hospital by ambulance following the incident. First responders on scene determined that the nature of the injuries were not severe enough to require helicopter transport.
A spokeswoman for Lake Valley Fire Department later said, “The patient’s condition didn’t warrant Care Flight. They were transported to Barton (Hospital).”
Lake Valley Fire declined to comment on the nature of the injuries.
Resort spokeswoman Thea Hardy said the girl was taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure.
“She sustained minor injuries,” Hardy said. “The most important thing is that she is OK.”
According to the resort, the incident occurred between tower 3 and 4 on the high-speed quad chair located on the front side of the mountain.
Hardy said they were investigating the details around the fall, and had yet to determine if the chair’s safety bar was down at the time of the incident.
“We’re very happy she didn’t sustain any larger injuries,” Hardy said, adding that the mountain encourages chairlift safety.
“It’s our top priority,” she said. “The threat is there. We do our best to educate people the right way.”
Wednesday’s incident was the second reported chairlift-related fall this month in the Lake Tahoe Basin.
An 8-year-old Northern California girl was injured after she fell from a chair at Squaw Valley Resort Jan. 2. She reportedly fell 40 feet according to a Squaw Valley spokeswoman. The Sierra Sun reported that the girl was transported to Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno with non-life-threatening injuries from the fall.
According to information obtained by the National Ski Areas Association, falls from ski lifts are generally credited to skier error. Findings are based on statistics from Colorado ski resorts.
While ski areas in California and other states are not required to report chair lift falls, Colorado law mandates that ski resorts in the state report chairlift falls to a state agency. Based on Colorado data, from 2001 to 2012 roughly 86.3 percent of falls are credited to skier error. Of 227 reported chairlift falls in Colorado during that time period, 196 were credited to skier error. Eight were caused by a medical issue, four were attributed to operator or mechanical error, and 19 were classified with “unknown” causes.
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