I was at Ski Liberty (Pennsylvania) with my sons today and witnessed a rather frightening event. There are two parallel chairlifts on the back side, and we heard people screaming "Help!" on the other one as we were going up. Looking over, we saw that there was a guy dangling from the chair across from us. His entire body was off the chair, and the two people on either side were holding him up and yelling for assistance. Ski patrol under our lift got on the radio. When the chair was about 8 chairs back from the top, over a semi-steep run, the lift stopped for some reason. I think they should have gotten it going so he could reach the top, and people were shouting at the operator to start it again. Ski patrol got under him and apparently told him to kick off his skis. He was able to get one off, but was thrashing in apparent panic and could not knock the other one off. He let go, or slipped out of the grasp of his friends, and horrifyingly plunged about 20 feet to the ground. It was one of the most sad and awful sights I have ever witnessed. More patrollers came, and over the next half hour got him on a back board and eventually into a helicopter. I don't know what the extent of his injuries is, but I hope he'll be okay.
Everyone nearby seemed to agree that they should have restarted the lift so he could make it to the top -- he had to hang while the lift was stationary for a longer time than it would have taken to get to the top, where there is a net just before the platform. I am really glad my youngest, who is somewhat afraid of heights, was not there to see this unfold.
Edited by jeff2010 - 1/10/15 at 6:29pm