Lift accidents in Colorado typically occur during the ski season, but during Aspen’s Fourth of July fireworks five valley residents were on a wooden platform when it collapsed and fell 12-15 feet to the ground.
The accident happened on the “cow catcher,” a ramp and net just below the top unloading platform of Lift 1A, where a group of people had gathered to watch the fireworks display, according to a Pitkin County sheriff’s deputy who is also an Aspen Mountain ski patroller. Another deputy explained the incident as the structure simply gave way and fell to the ground, bringing its occupants with it. Two people were injured and one was sent to the hospital, then treated and released.
The incident initially created some confusion among emergency response personnel. The call came in to 911 from someone reporting that a balcony had collapsed with several people on in near Lift 1A. Aspen police responded to the Lift 1A condos, assuming that the only balconies in the area were attached to apartments or houses.
Officials then thought the accident had taken place on the deck of the old Ruthie’s restaurant, which would have been more serious. The fire department sent its rescue vehicle and numerous personnel were dispatched up the mountain. Steep, rocky terrain that had become slick with rain added some challenge to the response.