Sunday River Evacuates Over 200 Skiers In Ski Lift Rescue

Over 200 skiers and snowboarders were safely evacuated from the Aurora chairlift at the Sunday River ski resort in Maine on Thursday morning after a mechanical issue prompted a mid-air rescue operation. No injuries were reported in the incident, which began shortly after 11:00 AM EST.

Key Takeaways:

  • Over 200 skiers were safely evacuated from a chairlift at Sunday River ski resort.
  • The cause of the incident is under investigation, but safety protocols were followed.
  • This event highlights the importance of safety awareness and preparedness in the ski industry

According to resort officials, the issue was identified by the lift operator and the chairlift was stopped immediately. Mountain operations teams promptly initiated a rope evacuation procedure, lowering skiers and snowboarders one by one to the ground. The evacuation, which involved over 40 staff members, lasted approximately three hours.

"The safety of our guests is our top priority," said Sunday River spokesperson Emily Allen. "Our team responded quickly and efficiently to the situation, and we are grateful to everyone for their patience and cooperation during the evacuation."

While the exact cause of the mechanical issue is still under investigation, resort officials reported that the affected chairlift will be closed pending a thorough inspection and repairs. Affected guests were offered replacement lift tickets for another day.

This incident, while fortunately non-injurious, underscores the inherent risks associated with chairlift usage and the importance of safety protocols. Ski resorts nationwide implement rigorous maintenance procedures and emergency response plans to address malfunctions and ensure guest safety.

Previous Chairlift Incidents:

Similar chairlift evacuations have occurred at other ski resorts in recent years, prompting discussions about safety measures and regulations. In December 2023, over 100 skiers were evacuated from a chairlift at a Colorado resort due to high winds. These incidents raise awareness and encourage continued evaluation of safety protocols across the industry.

Response and Future Steps:

Sunday River has received praise for its quick response and communication throughout the evacuation. The resort is currently investigating the cause of the mechanical issue and will implement any necessary measures to prevent similar incidents in the future. The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) also investigates such incidents and shares findings with its members to ensure industry-wide safety improvements.


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