High Drama As Chairlift Plummets From Cable In Snowy Mountains
The good news is nobody was hurt.
But there were scary scenes 1800 metres above sea level, and several metres above the ground, when a four-seater chair fell from the cable on Thredbo's Gunbarrel Quad Chairlift on Monday afternoon.
The chair fell from a height of approximately 10 metres, just below the top station.
"Thredbo can confirm there was an isolated incident affecting a single chair on Gunbarrel Chairlift at approximately 3pm on Monday 22 July 2019 caused by a freak gust of wind," a resort spokesperson told 10 daily.
"The guest involved in the incident sustained minor bruising only. No other guests or chairs were affected. Thredbo is committed to the safety of our guests and our people."
Chairlifts in Australia's Snowy Mountains frequently operate without any problems in strong winds which typically precede the snow-bearing weather systems which are so important to the region.
According to the Bureau of Meteorology, winds were gusting up to 93 km/h at the time of Monday's incident.
This is not the first time a chair has fallen from the Gunbarrel. A chair also fell in 2016 a little lower down from the top station, as the image below shows. The resort conducted a full X-Ray of the chairlift cable after that.
Neither is this the first chairlift mishap this year in the Snowy Mountains. The new Leichhardt Quad Chairlift at the nearby NSW resort of Perisher has broken down several times, forcing skiers waiting for a ride to trek on foot to the resort base, carrying their gear.
The Gunbarrel Chairlift serves a key area of Thredbo, linking the beginner slopes of Friday Flat with the intermediate terrain of the Merritts area. You can see it on the map below, and we have circled the area where the chair fell.
The Gunbarrel Chairlift is currently not running this Tuesday, although 12 of Thredbo's other 13 lifts continue to operate in blizzard conditions with snow falling and winds gusting up to 65 km/h.
The resort's snow depth is currently 1.2 metres on the upper slopes.
More to come.