A Chairlift In The NSW Snowy Mountains Has Detached After A ‘Freak Gust Of Wind’, Injuring 3

Three people in New South Wales have been airlifted to hospital after a Thredbo ski lift on the Snowy Mountains malfunctioned amidst heavy winds.

At 2:20pm on Saturday afternoon, the chairlift became disconnected from the overhead cabling after a “freak gust of wind”, according to a statement from a Thredbo spokesperson, the company that runs the alpine resort.

Two women in their 20s sustained back injuries and one man reportedly suffered injuries to his face.

The man was taken to Canberra Hospital for further treatment while the women were sent to Cooma Hospital in the state’s south.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, a wind speed of 65km per hour was recorded in the area just prior to the incident.

“There were no major injuries caused, and the three guests involved are being looked after by the team,” the Thredbo spokesperson continued.

“No other guests or chairs were affected. Thredbo is committed to the safety of our guests and our people.

“The incident is currently being thoroughly investigated by SafeWork NSW and an independent engineer.”

Thredbo’s lift passes cost a minimum of $162 per day and at nearly two kilometres long, it is Australia’s longest chairlift.

Back in 1990 the structure was upgraded to seat four people in each lift, where it had previously been two.

At the time of writing, the Kosciuszko Chairlift was listed as “closed” on Thredbo’s website while the safety inspection occurs.

This isn’t the first time a similar accident has happened on the NSW slopes.

In 2019, a Thredbo ski lift became detached from its wiring, causing its occupant to be dropped five metres, per nine.

The official media statement from Thredbo following the 2019 incident also stated the cause as being from “a freak gust of wind”.

The Victorian and NSW snow seasons have been decisively lacklustre this year, with snowfall at levels far below average.

Header image by Martin Ollman/Getty Images