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Lawsuit: Girl dangled on Park City Mountain lift for 300 yards, fell 30 feet

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Lawsuit: Girl dangled on Park City Mountain lift for 300 yards, fell 30 feet

Feb 24, 2024 | 2:05 pm ET
By Parker Malatesta
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Lawsuit: Girl dangled on Park City Mountain lift for 300 yards, fell 30 feet
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A family has filed a lawsuit after a 10-year-old girl fell 30 feet from a Park City Mountain chairlift. (Photo by Getty Images)

A family has filed a lawsuit after a 10-year-old girl fell 30 feet from a Park City Mountain chairlift and her father jumped to help her.

A legal complaint filed this month in Third District Court alleges employee negligence led to the girl’s fall from the Iron Mountain Express lift at Canyons Village and her serious injuries.

The lawsuit states the 10-year-old girl was celebrating her birthday with three friends when they boarded the lift back on Dec. 16, 2020. Her father and two other friends got on the chair right behind them.

The girls couldn’t pull down the safety bar and just after boarding, the 10-year-old slipped from her seat and dangled from the lift as it continued up the mountain.

The filing claims Iron Mountain Express was under the supervision of one employee at the time. The girl’s father and others yelled to the employee for help. They said the lift operator acknowledged the girl hanging from the chair but didn’t immediately stop the lift and she traveled up 300 yards before falling 30 feet to the ground covered in rocks and brush.

Fearing for his daughter’s safety, the documents state the father jumped off the lift to help her but was knocked unconscious and broke his pelvis, hip, ribs and wrist. His daughter had serious injuries to her abdomen and hip.

The complaint cites Utah code regulating chairlifts. It states: “Should a condition develop in which continued operation might endanger a passenger, the attendant shall stop the aerial lift immediately.”

Alleging a failure to properly train and supervise employees, the family is seeking damages from Park City Mountain owner Vail Resorts through a jury trial. Vail has yet to respond in court. Park City Mountain did not respond to KPCW’s request for comment in time for this report.

A Park City Mountain ski patroller died in January 2023 after a snow-covered tree fell on the Short Cut lift, launching him out of his chair headfirst into a deep ravine about 50 feet below. The Utah Department of Safety and Health fined Vail Resorts $2,500 for workplace hazards after the incident. Vail has appealed the citation and it remains contested.

This story was reported by KPCW, serving Summit and Wasatch Counties with local news, information, entertainment, and emergency alerts through its broadcast signal and digital media platforms.