A 14-year-old English schoolboy has been in a coma since he was strangled by his clothing after it became entangled on the chairlift in French ski resort. The boy was cut free by rescuers and resuscitated on the snow. He was then airlifted to a local hospital.
The boy, who has been in a coma since the accident, was on the L’Echo des Montagnes chair lift, a six-seater lift that opened last season. As the end of the ride approached, at an altitude of 6,500ft, the horizontal safety barrier that sits across the lap of skiers was raised to allow skiers to alight. However a strap from the boy’s rucksack had become wedged in the metal bars of the seat. The boy was therefore unable to free himself in time and the lift, now travelling at a speed of 18 feet per second, had turned back on itself and had begun its decent down the mountain. Witnesses said as the youngster desperately fought to free himself he slipped and was suspended from the lift by his clothing that had ridden up around his neck and was throttling him.
The youngster, a pupil from Torquay Boys’ Grammar School in Devon, England, was left hanging from the lift by a piece of clothing wrapped tightly around his neck. The student was with three schoolfriends on the lift. They were on an annual Spring half-term skiing trip in Portes du Soleil near Chatel. A police inquiry is under way to explain why the safety system, known as a gate, which stops the lift if a skier has not alighted at the top was not activated.