Lecht staff “determined” to find out cause of crisis

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Investigations have been ongoing after a chairlift derailed with 36 onboard at a local ski centre last week.

The Snowy Owl Chairlift at the Lecth Ski Centre at Corgarff derailed on Tuesday afternoon injuring six people and leaving 30 stranded.

The injured were taken to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, most of who have been released or are recovering.

Other skiers and snowboarders, many of who were children enjoying the half-term break, were left stranded in the air for more than an hour in freezing conditions.

It’s the first time there has been a problem with the lifts at the Lecht Ski Centre since its opening in 1977. The chairlift has been in use since 2000 and is inspected and serviced on a regular basis.

The Lecht Ski Company Ltd said their first course of action was to look after the injured, and they were grateful that there were several doctors were skiing at the time who also assisted.

There were concered about the wind-chill factor and the high trained teams’ top priority, after the injured were cared for, was ensuring the safe rescue of those stranded.

A spokesperson said: “Lecht staff are trained in chairlift rescue, a drill which is practised every season to ensure rapid, calm response to any breakdown and reassurance for anyone stranded on the chairlift. This training, practice and planning with the emergency services paid dividends when all involved performed what others have already described as a ‘text book rescue’.”

The investigation will be carried out rigorously by the Company and also by Grampian Police and the Health and Safety Executive.

Lecht spokesperson said they are “determined” to find out why it happened and added: ”The thoughts of Lecht management and staff are with those injured and we wish them all a speedy recovery. We are also thinking of the people we rescued and would like to thank them for staying calm in what were extremely difficult circumstances. We hope they will recover soon. The Directors also take this opportunity to thank the emergency services and public for their assistance and especially our staff for carrying out their jobs with such a high degree of professionalism and care for our customers and exceeding our high expectations of them.”