Wednesday, April 17, 2024
NewsSkiingWorld News

I thought I was going to die in cable car tossed by 70mph winds for 40 MINUTES as screaming skier fell to ground below

A SKIER has recalled the terrifying moment she thought she was going to die as her cable car was violently tossed around by 70mph winds.

Stephanie Burt, from New Zealand, was caught up in the horrific ordeal for 40 minutes as another skier fell screaming to the ground below.

Mrs Burt was trapped inside one of the cable cars as they were violently tossed around in the winds


Mrs Burt was trapped inside one of the cable cars as they were violently tossed around in the windsCredit: X/@mrcrabtreepe
Ski-goers were left dangling in the air trapped on the ski lifts


Ski-goers were left dangling in the air trapped on the ski liftsCredit: Instagram/@marco_malcangi
The lifts were chaotically being thrashed around


The lifts were chaotically being thrashed aroundCredit: Instagram/@marco_malcangi

Viral footage showed the moment the chairlifts at Cervino ski resort in Italy were launched from side to side by the gusts as gondolas threatened to collide with one another.

Some of the lifts can be seen flipping 270 degrees as the winds – which can reach up to 62mph in the area – thrashes them around like toys.

Mrs Burt had travelled with her family and lifelong friend Barnaby Dunning earlier this week for a dream ski trip – only to find herself cast into a living nightmare as winds picked up on the slopes.

The mum had been sharing a cable car with Mr Dunning before the pair were given the fright of their lives.

And interior designer Mrs Burt, who has been skiing since the age of three growing up in her native New Zealand, has vowed never to ski in Italy again unless the resort tightens up its safety protocols.

“They’re wiping their hands of it and I don’t feel there’s any safety protocols in place whatsoever,” she told MailOnline.

“We spent 40 minutes holding on for our lives, listening to and there’s been no communication, and nobody has checked if we’re doing okay.

“We were traumatised. I was in shock. And they think that our lives were not at risk. It’s insane.”

Bosses at the Breuil-Cervinia resort, operated by Cervino S.p.A in the shadow of the iconic Matterhorn, reportedly downplayed the danger the mother-of-two and her lifelong friend were in.

Horrifying details emerge as ski resort worker, 29, killed in devastating 50ft plunge after being ejected from chairlift

This only angered Mrs Burt, who has been left shaken to the core following her flirt with death.

Alongside university friend Mr Dunning, the pair had made for the Cretaz chairlift towards the end of the day on Thursday as visibility began to dip.

Having used the transporter earlier in the day, there was no suggestion from the lift operator at the station that it was unsafe.

But five minutes into the journey, close to the top, the lifts were deactivated.

What followed was an excruciating 40 minutes of being literally twisted in the air, after wind tolerances of 43mph had been exceeded.

“Our bottoms were off of the seats, we were holding onto the front bubble and literally swinging in midair,’ Mrs Burt recalled.

“The only reason I’m alive is because I was there with Barnaby, who weighs 100kg and could hold it down. At one stage, my ski was up over my shoulder.”

But what made the experience even worse were the blood-curdling screams of a man in the cable car behind them.

The plastic bubble that was meant to shield him from the elements on the ride up had been yanked open and was acting “like a sail”, according to Mrs Burt, buffeting his chair even more violently.

Horrifying footage then captures the moment he plummets to the ground from his chair.

The video was taken by another skier, who shared it to social media.

However, one eyewitness said he had later seen the man walking with ski patrollers and that he had been airlifted to hospital.

Mrs Burt was later played a recording in which he told police he had jumped, fearing for his safety if he stayed put.

“His screams were harrowing,” she said. “It sounded like he was falling to his death.”

“The fear of God was put into me in that lift. It was the most frightening experience of my life,” she added.

The mum had even considered risking the plunge herself, feeling it was a better option than remaining in the cable car that appeared to be moments from clattering into another swinging in the opposite direction.

“We thought we were going to be knocked off and killed, and discussed if it would be better to have broken legs or a broken pelvis and be alive (from jumping off) rather than being knocked off.”

However, after thinking of her children and husband, she made the decision to continue clinging on for dear life.

Eventually, workers from the resort fixed a sensor that allowed the lift to begin moving again, and the chairlift set off to the top of the Plan Torrette slope.

Once they could safely dismount, Mrs Burt said she fell to her knees in shock – although there was no lift operator at the station at the summit.

As a result, the pair were left alone to compose themselves after their near-death experience.

They eventually mustered up the courage to ski back down the slope, where Mrs Burt would demand a meeting with resort bosses.

However, she said they refused to take her concerns about safety seriously and sought to “wipe their hands of it”.

Mrs Burt recalled: “They tried to say that we were never in any danger. I think they might have said they would look at their staff communication but that was all.”

The resort operator Cervino Spa confirmed that no one sustained any major injuries.

Those sitting perilously on the lifts in the videos were the final people heading back up the slopes for the day.

A man – who took one of the wild clips – took to social media and claimed at least five people were stuck mid air during the howling winds.

Federico Maquignaz, president of Cervino spa, told The Sun: “Violent, unpredictable gusts of wind hit the town, a real storm and access to the lift was immediately closed, while the chairlift continued to move to allow passengers still in line to disembark.

“Due to the wind there was a fault in the line, the technicians climbed onto the pylons to check the situation and put the chairlift back into operation.

“At extremely low speed and with the utmost caution, necessary for these operations, they were all taken to the top without any consequences, neither for the skiers who remained stranded, nor for the technicians who intervened.

“Unfortunately, these are extreme situations that cannot be predicted and which remind us once again of the unpredictability of the mountains.”

The horror incident happened at the Breuil-Cervinia Ski Resort in Italy


The horror incident happened at the Breuil-Cervinia Ski Resort in ItalyCredit: Google

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *