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Ski-lift failure in Georgia sends people flying into the air

Dramatic video captured images of skiiers being thrown off of a malfunctioning ski lift at a resort in the country of...

Posted: Mar 16, 2018 6:11 PM
Updated: Mar 16, 2018 6:11 PM

Dramatic video captured images of skiiers being thrown off of a malfunctioning ski lift at a resort in the country of Georgia Friday.

Authorities said at least 10 people were injured when the ski lift at the Gudauri resort began running at high speed, in reverse.

Some skiiers told CNN they had to jump off of the out-of-control lift to avoid being crushed at the bottom of the hill.

Yuri Leontyev, 32, from Belarus, was on the ski lift with two friends when the incident occurred. He filmed people being thrown off of the chairs, landing in the snow.

"The ski lift stopped and started going in reverse," he told CNN. "We had to jump from it, because at the bottom (of the hill) it was total trash and no chance to stay safe."

"We jumped, moved to a safe area, and made a short video," he added

Another eyewitness, Ukrainian Iryna Iadak, was on the lift with her boyfriend.

"The movement of the lift stopped and a minute later we drove back," she 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."

Iadak filmed the aftermath of the accident, with crushed chairs piled up and skiers still hung up in the air.

Georgia's state-owned Mountain Resorts Development Company told CNN the injured were taken to the resort's clinic. Ski patrol and three ambulance crew members were deployed to the scene, the Mountain Company said.

"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 Mountain Company added that it has contacted the ski lift manufacturer, the Doppelmayr Garaventa group, to investigate the cause of the incident.

CNN has reached out to the Doppelmayr company for comment.

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