A 7-year-old boy died Tuesday after he fell from a ski lift and sustained a critical head injury Sunday at the Sugar Bowl ski resort in Northern California.
• A 7-year-old avid skier fell 60 feet from a chair lift at a Sierra ski resort. He landed in a rocky area that was only partly covered by snow.
• The boy suffered a critical head injury and was airlifted to a hospital in Reno, where he had surgery.
• Sadly, he did not survive his injuries. He died on Sunday.
The accident occurred shortly before 11 a.m. Sunday, according to a report in the Auburn Journal.
Resort spokesman John Monson said the boy, who lived in Davis, was a member of the Sugar Bowl ski team. He was riding with two other team members on the Mount Lincoln Express chair lift when he fell 60 feet onto a hard-packed surface that was not fully covered in snow, Monson said.
The boy, who was wearing a helmet when he fell, suffered a severe head injury, according to the Reno Gazette-Journal. Rescue patrol transported the boy down the hill on a sled. One witness said he saw the boy receiving CPR before he was airlifted via helicopter to Renown Medical Center in Reno.
At the hospital, doctors performed surgery to relieve the pressure in the little boy’s skull, but he died two days later.
Davis resident Jim Powell was at the resort chaperoning a high school ski team field trip on Sunday. He told the Davis Enterprise that he rode the same chairlift just moments later the victim fell.
“It did not look good” Powell said. “An adult would not have survived that fall.” Exposed rock stuck out from under the partial snow cover, he said.
But snow conditions are not necessarily a mitigating factor, ski patrol member James Margolis told the Gazette-Journal. Margolis said any 60-foot fall from the chair lift would be “lethal, whether it’s in good conditions or bad.”
State officials and the Sugar Bowl Corporation both are conducting investigations. Monson said a state-led, independent inspection of the chair lift concluded that there were no malfunctions.
“We’re trying to work through what happened,” Monson said. He noted that there were conflicting reports as to what actually happened before the boy fell. “It’s our responsibility to gather all statements and determine what happened.”
Sugar Bowl has no minimum age requirement for skiers or snowboarders riding the lift without an adult.
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