Tourism

“Freak gust of wind” plummets skier to the ground in Thredbo chairlift accident

Ali Coulton

Ali Coulton

A skier survived an estimated five-metre drop from a chairlift which became dislodged at Thredbo Ski Resort.

The man was on a chairlift on the Gunbarrel Express near the top of the mountain when the chair detached from the cable and plummeted to the ground.

Thredbo has confirmed the incident, which happened at 3pm on Monday, and said in a statement the guest involved sustained only minor bruising from the drop.

Photos taken at the scene which were supplied to ABC News suggest the man would have fallen at least five meters.

The Kosciuszko Express chairlift also stopped briefly earlier in the day due to high winds, but locals said it was not a particularly windy day.

“The safety of our guests and our people is the number one priority at Thredbo,” Stuart Diver, general manager of Thredbo said in a statement.

“The incident has been thoroughly investigated by our team of experts, SafeWork NSW, the manufacturers of the chairlift and an independent engineer.

“Following the investigation, we can confirm that this was an isolated incident caused by a freak gust of wind. Gunbarrel Chairlift will resume operations tomorrow, Wednesday 24 July 2019.”

A spokesperson for Safework told Travel Weekly the organisation has commenced an investigation into the incident.

“The chairlift has been inspected by SafeWork inspectors, supported by their engineer and an independent engineer,” the spokesperson said.

“The chairlift was subject to a non-disturbance period post-incident and was lifted on Tuesday evening. Control has been returned to Kosciusko Thredbo. SafeWork will continue to work on improvements with site operators and third-party engineers.”

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