A chairlift in the country of Georgia malfunctioned Friday, sending skiers flying as the lift suddenly started going backwards and at double the appropriate speed. The images from the Sadzele ski lift at the Gudauri ski resort are harrowing and show chairs crashing into each other as riders are thrown from their seats. According to CNN and BuzzFeed News, at least 10 people were injured, including a pregnant woman.
Warning: these clips are violent.
Yuri Leontyev, 32, is from Belarus and was at the ski lift with two friends. “We had to jump from it, because at the bottom (of the hill) it was total trash and no chance to stay safe,” he told CNN. He then filmed people being thrown from their chairs and landing in the snow. "We jumped, moved to a safe area, and made a short video," he added.
"The movement of the lift stopped and a minute later we drove back," another witness, Iryna Iadak, from Ukraine, told CNN. "The speed increased, it was out of control. The lift could not be stopped. People began to jump from different altitudes, panic began. Many did not manage to jump off and were thrown out from the impact."
Georgia’s Mountain Resorts Development Company told CNN the injured people were taken to the resort’s clinic after ski patrol and three ambulance crew were sent to the scene.
According to initial information, Sadzele ski lift in Gudauri stopped working, chairs crashed into each other with riders suspended in the air, causing health injury of medium gravity," the company said in a statement. "As a result, according to preliminary data, 10 people were injured."
The company has already ordered the ski lift manufacturer, the Doppelmayr Caraventa group, to begin investigating the cause of the incident.
The government "will fully compensate health and treatment service costs," Magda Sanikidze, a spokesperson for the federal agency of the Mountain Resorts of Georgia, told BuzzFeed.