September 19, 2017
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Report cites problems with Sugarloaf ski lift

By DAVID SHARP, The Associated Press

PORTLAND, Maine — The state agency investigating a ski lift accident at Sugarloaf that injured eight skiers has found inconsistent training and an inadequate maintenance program.

Five chairs plummeted 25 to 35 feet after a lift cable popped out of place Dec. 28 on a 35-year-old chair lift that Sugarloaf had targeted for replacement.

The Maine State Board of Elevator and Tramway Safety said Friday it couldn’t determine exactly what caused the accident. But it cited factors including high winds and problems with maintenance, procedures and components. It also noted a technician had to manually hit a button afterward to stop the lift from moving after a safety mechanism failed.

It was the worst lift-related accident in the 60-year history of Sugarloaf, which is 120 miles north of Portland in Carrabassett Valley.

Sugarloaf General Manager John Diller says the ski resort has made changes to improve maintenance procedures to ensure the safety of guests and employees.

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