High winds blamed for ski lift crash in Maine

Image caption,
Some skiers were trapped for more than an hour before being helped to safety

Investigators in the US state of Maine say that high winds were primarily responsible for the derailment of a ski lift on Tuesday.

Five adults and three children were injured after falling about 30ft (9m) from the lift to the slope below.

Others were trapped on the lift for more than an hour in freezing conditions.

Investigators have not commented on whether there were mechanical issues with the lift.

However, the lift was known to be vulnerable to wind and was due to be replaced in the near future, possibly during the summer.

Earlier on the day of the accident, the lift in question and two others were suspended on a "wind hold" before being declared safe by operators at the Sugarloaf resort.

The resort's management assured visitors that its lifts were inspected each day.

"We haven't had a derailment of this magnitude in the 60 years Sugarloaf has been in operation," Richard Wilkinson, vice president for mountain operations, told reporters.

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