Sugarloaf Skier: 'I Could Feel Myself Falling' As Chairlift Cable Gave Way

December 29, 2010

Mark Memmott

The stories are emerging of what it was like yesterday to be on the Spillway East chairlift at Sugarloaf Mountain resort in Maine when the cable derailed -- sending several chairs falling 20 or 30 feet to the ground, injuring at least 8 people and stranding about 150 others for up to a couple hours before they could be helped down.

On ABC's Good Morning America, a young skier named Rebecca London said "I could feel myself falling and see the chair in front of me falling." It all happened so fast, London said, that "I didn't even realize what had happened until I was on the ground."

She also said the fact that about two feet of fresh snow had fallen on the mountain helped cushion her landing. London wasn't hurt.

The Portland Press Herald quotes skier Srini Venkatraman as saying that just before the accident "there was a huge noise, a huge thud. The entire cable was shaking all the way."

Our colleagues at the Maine Public Broadcasting Network say the lift is about 35 years old and that the resort has been planning to give it an upgrade.

The Associated Press adds this video report: Copyright 2010 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.