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Full story of Gudauri ski lift accident - Chairlift horror in international media spotlight
17 March, 2018
A shocking ski lift accident in Georgia’s eastern Gudauri resort, in particular at Sadzele 5 lift, has left 11 people with mild injuries. The ski lift in Gudauri winter resort went out of control when the holidaymakers were skiing. Suddenly the chairlift started to move in reverse at a fast speed crushing ski lift chairs into each other. The tragic accident at the ski lift in Gudauri has drawn the attention of of the world media.

The world’s leading agencies
such as BBC, Euronews, CNN, The Independent, The Washington Post, Daily Mail have reported about the case, with following titles : “Ski lift from hell”, Ski-lift failure in Georgia sends people flying into the air”, etc.
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The ski lift in Gudauri winter resort went out of control

According to the latest data, in the aftermath of ski lift breakdown several tourists were injured: citizen of Sweden (pregnant), six citizens of Russia and four citizens of Ukraine.

The health condition of a Swedish citizen is stable and there are no pregnancy-related problems at this stage, - said Giorgi Gotsadze, Medical Director of Mediclab Georgia.

No fatalities have been recorded. Four of the 11 have already been discharged from hospital.

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Photo from the accident site

According to the Georgia’s Deputy Health Minister, none of injured persons' lives is in danger and there is no ground for panic:

“None of the injured person’s life is in danger. The condition of the pregnant woman is satisfactory as well," he said.
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Despite the horrifying incident, Gudauri continues receiving the tourists

The exact reason for the ski-lift incident is yet to be found. It is speculated that the culprit may have been a voltage fluctuation or brake issues. According to Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Dimitri Kumsishvili, negotiations about sending independent international experts to investigate the case are underway with several well-known European companies.

Despite the horrifying incident, Gudauri continues receiving the tourists. Despite the yesterday's incident, most of the tourists remain on the resort. At this stage, the skiers are allowed at all skiing tracks, except for the damaged Sadzele ropeway section.
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The exact place of the accident, Sadzele 5 lift, 3279 meters above sea level

Sadzele is the highest point in Gudauri Ski Resort and it is located at the elevation of 3279 meters above sea level. As it is known, the Sadzele ski lift is rarely open due to the avalanche hazard.

As for the ski lift itself, it was installed by the Doppelmayr Garaventa Group, the world's largest ropeway manufacturer. Doppelmayr is Austrian - Swiss company founded in 1892. To date, Doppelmayr and Garaventa have produced over 14,800 installations in 92 countries.

The Doppelmayr/Garaventa Group entered Georgia in 2011 and has been conducting technical inspection and rehabilitation of Gudauri ropeways since then.

The Ministry of Economy stated that they have already contacted Doppelmayr Garaventa group for them to react to the incident immediately and send experts to clarify the reasons for the malfunctionThe representatives of the Doppelmayr Company have already arrived in Georgia.
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The ski lift was installed by the Doppelmayr Garaventa Group

According to First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Dimitri Kumsishvili, not only experts from Doppelmayr Company, but international independent experts will also be called to conduct investigation on Gudauri ski lift case.

"Not only experts from the Doppelmayr Company, but international independent experts will also be called. It is important for us to conduct an examination through the involvement of independent experts", Dimitri Kumsishvili said.

BBC has published the video depicting tragic accident in Georgia’s winter resort, titled “Skiers jump from speeding lift in Georgia.” According to the world’s leading publication, “some skiers jumped and others were flung from the chairs, which jammed together at the bottom of the slope”.

Watch the video below

“Skiers at Gudauri ski resort in Georgia were forced to throw themselves off a broken ski lift as chairs crashed into each other at the bottom of a slope”, Euronews reports. According to the article, holidaymakers were travelling downhill at the Gudauri ski resort when the lift started moving quickly backwards.

“A video of the incident showed horrified onlookers shouting in panic as people were thrown to the ground,” reads the official website of Euronews.

“Ski-lift failure in Georgia sends people flying into the air”, CNN has reported. CNN has also published the video depicting quite upsetting scenes and appraised it as “dramatic.”
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People were thrown to the ground

“Dramatic video captured images of skiers being thrown off of a malfunctioning ski lift at a resort in the country of Georgia”, reads the video description.
CNN has also published the interview with one of the foreign skiers, Yuri Leontyev from Belarus, who was on the ski lift with two friends when the accident happened. However, he managed to jump from the ski lift.



"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."
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Damaged ski lift

“A number of skiers were violently thrown off at high speeds at the Gudauri resort, located on the plateau of The Greater Caucasus Mountain Range”, the Independent has reported.

“Do not watch this video of a malfunctioning chair lift if you ever plan to ski again,” The Washington post warned its readers while publishing the video depicting the ski-lift accident in Gudauri. The accident itself was described as “horrifying” by famous American daily newspaper.

Well-known British newspaper Daily Mail has coined Gudauri’s Sadzele 5 lift as the“Ski lift from hell.”

“Ski lift from hell! The terrifying moment a malfunctioning chairlift flings skiers through the air as it spins BACKWARDS out of control,” Daily Mail has reported.
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One Russian citizen injured in the ski lift accident returned to Gudauri resort after being discharged from the clinic

“Lift suddenly started running backwards at double the normal speed. Pregnant Swedish woman is one of those more seriously injured,” reads the article.

It is noteworthy that one of the Russian citizens, Oleg Vitrov, injured in the ski lift accident after being discharged from the clinic returned to Gudauri resort to enjoy skiing again.

International experts from the French international company Bureau Veritas and of the Ministry of Internal Affairs arrived in Georgia’s winter resort of Gudauri to investigate the ski-lift accident.

Experts from the Austrian Doppelmayr Garaventa group, which installed the ski-lift in 2007, were also present for studying the cause of the malfunction of a ski lift.

Nearly half of the injured tourists, who were from Georgia, Ukraine, Russia, and Sweden, have been discharged the same day of the incident as they suffered minor injuries.

A pregnant woman from Sweden has been discharged from Tbilisi Mediclub Georgia hospital on March 20, as her pregnancy and health condition were not at any risk.

Related stories:

Doctors say health condition of pregnant Swedish citizen is stable

"Energo Pro Georgia" on Gudauri Incident : There was no suspension of electricity supply or any changes in voltage


Independent international experts to investigate Gudauri ropeway incident

None of injured persons' lives is in danger, Deputy Health Minister says

All Gudauri cables are in order and will resume operating, Head of Tourism Administration reports

Injured citizens of Ukraine and Sweden being transferred to Tbilisi by helicopter

Shocking footage from accident site in Gudauri - Ropeway breakdown

Ski lift in Gudauri goes out of control

Ski lift accidents throughout the world similar to Gudauri ropeway breakdown
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