A mother and her six-year-old daughter were injured falling from a chairlift at the Crotched Mountain ski area just after 4 p.m. on Dec. 11. The fall happened about 90 seconds after the mother, daughter and another Hollis resident got on the lift, about 1,300 feet from the lift terminal. Both mother and daughter fell about 25 to 30 feet. The mother was taken by ambulance to a local community hospital and the daughter was airlifted to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.
The state Fire Marshal’s Office has concluded its investigation into the Dec. 11 accident at Crotched Mountain Ski & Ride Area in New Hampshire. W. Briggs Lockwood, chief tramway safety inspector for the state Fire Marshal’s Office, said the girl fell from the chair because she was never properly seated on the chairlift and that the mother moved right away to help her daughter.
The accident is consistent with a “misload,” he said, which led to the girl falling from the chair. Lockwood said no citation is being issued and said he stresses that “loading a chairlift is a shared responsibility.”
The Fire Marshall is silent on the role of the ski lift attendant. Each year, we see a number of misloads resulting in injuries to skiers and often the accident could have been avoided, or the severity significantly reduced, if the lift attendant had been attentive and responded to the misload promptly. A period of 90 seconds is too long for a child to hang, particularly when with each second the distance to the ground below is increasing. For an example of a misload ignored by lift attendants, see Aspen SkiCo Weiner Roast Causes Lift Accident.