Shocking moment girl, 16, plunges off high California ski lift and lands hard on ground after she began to slide off her seat, with volunteers holding net to try to break her fall
A teenage girl was taken to hospital after falling more than 30 feet from a chair lift at California’s highest ski resort – despite landing in a net held by resort staff.
Shocking video shows onlookers gasp in horror as the 16-year-old hangs and then falls from the Stump Alley Express chair at Mammoth Mountain on Saturday.
The lift was brought to a halt and volunteers, along with staff, held a ‘speed net’ under the girl in an attempt to break her fall.
The resort said the girl was not seated properly when the lift started and began ‘sliding’ off the chair, but the incident sparked anger among skiers who accused lift operators of not paying attention.
Photos taken as a skier in the next chair show the teenager hanging helplessly
Seconds later, she dives more than 30 feet to the helpers below
They catch her in a ‘delay net’ meant to reduce but not remove the force of the impact
“My father and friend saw the girl not sitting and immediately shouted stop, but it took the elevator operator almost a minute until he stopped it when the elevator was already about three floors high,” a family member of two men who were on the elevator with the elevator. girl wrote on Instagram.
“Elevator operator entirely to blame.”
The resort on the edge of the Sierra Nevada is enjoying a busy season after heavy snowfall in the past month.
The lift is one of 25 serving the 3,500-acre site that receives an average of 400 inches of snow each year.
“As the chair began to ascend, the guest, who was not fully seated for unknown reasons, began to slide off the chair,” Mammoth Mountain said in a statement.
‘The other individuals on the chair grabbed hold of the guest and prevented her from falling when lift operators stopped the lift.
‘Five Mammoth Mountain employees and eight guests responded immediately and placed the delay net under the gas.
‘As the gas slipped from the grip of her seatmates, the net slowed her fall but did not stop it.
“The guest was transported to Mammoth Hospital for evaluation.
“Our thoughts are with the guest and her family.”
While KTLA reports that the young woman did break her fall through the net, a skier who was in the next chair and caught the incident on film blamed the resort, insisting they didn’t actually catch her.
“The ski patrol let this girl down today, totally missed catching her with the net after they convinced her everything was okay!!” lunar rock maxx wrote on Instagram.
“Tell her Just to jump already, I heard the ski patrol say they had never done this before and were way under experienced for this situation!
‘Mammoth needs to do better!!’
“I worked as a hitchhiker in mammoth and you are told to keep the safety net there and try to catch them,” wrote Taylor W1 in response.
‘You will most likely never catch someone falling by holding a net.
‘You sign a waiver when you get your tickets that you are trustworthy and know the dangers. ski patrol did everything right, the woman didn’t.’
Three ski patrollers on duty at the resort died in April 2006 when a volcanic fumarole caused a snow bridge to collapse beneath them.
Last year, ski lifts ran until July because of persistent snow at the 8,000-foot resort, which opened in 1953.