NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Five children injured after ski-lift derails at the Lecht

Stephen Bastiman-Davies took this picture of stranded skiers being rescued from the chair-lift
Image caption Stephen Bastiman-Davies took this picture of his wife and son being rescued from the chair-lift

Five children and an adult have been taken to hospital after a chair-lift derailed at the Lecht Ski Centre in Aberdeenshire.

Emergency services were alerted to the incident, at Corgarff, at about 15:25.

Six people were taken to hospital with "non life-threatening" injuries and 30 others rescued after being stranded on the chair-lift, police said.

Image caption Six people were injured in the incident

It is believed the accident happened when the tow rope on the chair-lift came off.

The six people fell about 20ft (6m) to the ground and others were left stranded for more than an hour.

A spokeswoman for the Lecht said: "All the casualties are in a stable condition, three were taken to hospital by helicopter and three by ambulance.

"Staff evacuated 36 people that were stuck on the other chair-lifts and everyone was off the slope within an hour and 40 minutes.

"We don't know the reason for the accident, however the Health and Safety Executive and the Lecht will be investigating the cause."

Broken bones

An air ambulance attended the incident as well as a search and rescue helicopter from the MoD.

Squadron Leader Dave Webster said a helicopter from HMS Gannet, based at Prestwick in Ayrshire, was sent to the Lecht.

He told BBC Scotland it was believed the tow rope had detached from the chair-lift.

Sq Ldr Webster said he had been told six people had been hurt and the injuries were thought to be broken bones and back injuries.

Image caption Jennifer Johnston took this picture soon after the incident at the Lecht ski centre

Witness Hugh Craigie, from Banchory in Aberdeenshire, told the BBC: "We were next bar one to getting on the chair-lift when it broke down. We were told that it had derailed and people were still stranded on the chair-lift.

"I had been using the chairlift with my five-year-old twins on and off all day.

"We were very lucky not to have been stuck on the lift. Near the top of the lift the windchill made it feel very cold and I wouldn't have wanted to be sitting there for any length of time."

There were a large number of children on the ski slopes because it is still the half-term school holidays in many parts of Scotland.

Jennifer Johnston and her family, from Hatton of Fintray, were skiing in the area at the time of the chair-lift incident.

Her 15-year-old son Calum was on a lift parallel to the chair-lift that broke down.

He told the BBC: "I was on a tow lift and parallel to the chair-lift. My lift stopped for some reason and I looked over at the chair-lift and saw one caught in the pylon cable.

"Then another one came up behind it and also got caught, then there was a third chair. They were all bundled up together.

"I heard a crunch and soon after the cable released."

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Media captionColin Wight describes the "dramatic" scenes at Lecht Ski Centre in Aberdeenshire

Calum added: "People on my lift went over to help and a skidoo arrived quickly to take away the injured."

His mother Jennifer said: "We skied away and could see where the chair-lift had been derailed. One of the cables had come off the pylon. We could see one chair was detached from the cable and had stopped progression up the hill, and other chairs had got tangled in the cable."

The Lecht Ski Centre is on the A939 between Cockbridge and Tomintoul, on the eastern side of the Cairngorms.

There are five main ski resorts in Scotland — Nevis Range, Glencoe, Glenshee, Cairngorms and The Lecht.

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