8-Year-Old Girl Recovering After Plunging Nearly 25 Feet from Maine Ski Lift: 'A Scary Incident'
The girl was conscious after the fall and did not appear to suffer life-threatening injuries, but was airlifted to a nearby hospital
A little girl is on the mend after plunging nearly 25 feet from a ski lift at a Maine resort, officials confirmed.
The scary incident unfolded on Wednesday around 1 p.m. local time at Sugarloaf Ski Resort in Carrabassett Valley, according to a press release issued by the resort.
Officials said the 8-year-old girl — whose identity has not been released — had gotten onto the Snubber lift with the help of her mom, but was soon spotted "struggling to stay in the chair."
The Snubber lift is a triple chairlift that "services beginner terrain, and features a mid-station load area," according to the press release. Officials said the girl and her mom were boarding the chair at the lift's mid-station at the time of the incident.
Resort attendants immediately stopped the lift before contacting Sugarloaf Ski Patrol, who deployed a "catch net" below the young skier to break her fall, the press release stated.
In terrifying footage of the incident, which was captured by a witness and obtained by ABC affiliate WMTW, the little girl can be seen dangling from the ski lift as her mom desperately holds onto her, before she falls into the net.
In the video, the girl appears to fall slightly to the side of the net, hitting the ground with a loud thud.
Sugarloaf officials believe her fall was between 20-25 feet, according to the press release.
Following the incident, Ski Patrol arrived at the scene and provided medical attention to the girl, who they said was "conscious and alert" and "complained of pain in her back."
Though she did not appear to suffer life-threatening injuries, officials said she was airlifted to Eastern Maine Medical Center out of "extra precaution" because of a pre-existing medical condition.
"This was obviously a scary incident for everyone involved, and our thoughts are with the family," Sugarloaf General Manager Karl Strand said in a statement. "The safety of our guests is our first priority in everything we do, and I'm incredibly thankful to our lift attendants and ski patrollers, without whose quick actions this incident could have been much worse."
Sugarloaf officials also noted that the girl, who is from Maine, was wearing a helmet at the time of the incident.
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Ethan Austin, the director of marketing at Sugarloaf, told The Sun-Journal they believe the 8-year-old wasn't properly seated in the triple chairlift after something went wrong during the loading process.
An investigation is currently underway by the Sugarloaf Ski Patrol, according to the press release.