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Published: Tuesday, 12/28/2010

Several injured as lift at Maine resort derails, sends skiers plummeting 50 feet

CARRABASSETT VALLEY, Maine — A chair lift derailed at Maine's tallest ski mountain Tuesday, sending skiers plummeting 50 feet to the slope below and injuring several people, officials and a witness said.

The Sugarloaf resort in Carrabassett Valley, about 120 miles north of Portland, said on its Facebook page that there were about eight injuries and that its patrols were evacuating the lift.

Most of the injuries appeared to be minor, it said. At least two people were whisked to the nearest hospital, 45 miles away, by ambulance.

Jay Marshall, who was on a lift next to the broken one, told The Associated Press that both lifts stopped, then restarted. Almost immediately he saw a problem, then heard screams.

"The lift started again. I looked to my left and could see the cable bouncing up and down. I could see that the cable had come off the (track wheels)," he said.

The spot where the cable jumped its track was about 50 feet above the snow. Some skiers tumbled from their chairs, he said.

"Once the thing started bouncing up and down beside me, I stopped looking. I didn't want to see it, honestly," Marshall said. "It was terrifying."

A spokeswoman for Franklin Memorial Hospital about in Farmington said two injured people were on their way and it was possible more injured people could arrive.

A spokeswoman for the Maine Emergency Management Agency said they were sending a representative to the scene but had no details.

This is a developing story. Details will be published as they become available.



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