CARRABASSETT VALLEY, Maine — State inspectors are being sent to a ski lift that malfunction and sent people at a Maine resort plummeting as far as 30 feet to the snow.
Officials at the Sugarloaf resort say that there are about six injuries from Tuesday's accident and that patrols evacuated the lift. A state official says the lift was properly inspected and licensed.
Sugarloaf spokesman Ethan Austin says five chairs came down. The resort says none of the injuries appear to be life threatening.
Winds were high in the area at the time. It's unclear whether they, a mechanical malfunction or both caused the accident.
Inspectors from the state Board of Elevator and Tramway Safety are on their way to the scene about 120 miles north of Portland.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
CARRABASSETT VALLEY, Maine (AP) – A chair lift derailed in high winds at Maine's tallest ski mountain Tuesday, sending skiers plummeting as far as 30 feet to the slope below and injuring several people.
The Sugarloaf resort in Carrabassett Valley, about 120 miles north of Portland, said in a news release that about six people were injured when five chairs fell an estimated 25 to 30 feet. The resort's ski patrol evacuated the lift.
None of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening, the resort said. All the injured were treated and taken to hospitals. About 220 people were on the lift at the time.
Jay Marshall, who said he was hunkered down in a cold wind while on a lift next to the broken one, told The Associated Press that his lift was moving but that the broken one was not.
He said there was a "loud snapping noise," then screams.
"The next thing I know, it was bouncing up and down like a yo-yo," he said. Some skiers tumbled from their chairs.
Gideon Hacker, a skier from Princeton, N.J., said he saw at least one person taken off the mountain in a gurney pulled by a snowmobile. He said Sugarloaf workers used a pulley device to lower skiers to safety.
Jill Gray, a spokeswoman for Franklin Memorial Hospital about in Farmington, about 45 miles from the mountain, said that one person was taken there and immediately on to Maine Medical Center in Portland.
Another person was being treated in Franklin's emergency room, she said, and the hospital expected to receive five more patients. She did not give details on the injuries.
A spokeswoman for the Maine Emergency Management Agency said they were sending a representative to the scene but had no details.
At the time of the accident, high winds were buffeting Maine a day after a blizzard swept across the region.
The National Weather Service has no wind sensors near Sugarloaf. But a weather balloon launched Tuesday morning in Gray, in southern Maine, showed winds of 40 mph at 1,000 feet, a weather service meteorologist said.
At 4,237 feet, Sugarloaf is Maine's second-highest mountain after Mount Katahdin.