Gudauri Ski Resort | Chairlift Malfunction at Georgian Ski Resort “Was a Human Error”

The latest statement admits the operator failed to complete a crucial combination of actions

A horror screenshot from the chairlift accident in Gudauri, Georgia.

Warning: Some people may find the video content in this article disturbing.

Georgian First Deputy Prime Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Dimitry Kumsishvili has admitted that the horrifying chairlift breakdown from Gudauri Ski Resort which went viral around the world was ultimately down to “human error”.

The incident, which occured on Friday 16 March 2018 sent shockwaves around the world – with video footage emerging from Gudauri showing a chairlift appearing to be going backwards at double speed, completely out of control. Skiers and snowboarders were seen to be jumping off the lift to avoid the ‘meat-grinder’ effect at the bottom, where tourists were being flung off onto the snow before the lifts smashed into one another.

“Unfortunately, according to the current conclusion, the operator made a mistake”

Ultimately, 11 people were injured, including a girl who required surgery on her spine, which was successful, but who “needs a very long time to recover”, and a pregnant Swedish woman whose condition was said to be satisfactory and without any “pregnancy-related problems” at this stage.

The resort was open again the next day, with some of the 11 injured even discharging themselves from hospital to go back to ski Gudauri, though the affected chairlift area, the Sadzele Chairlift, has been shut. It is often shut anyway due to the high avalanche risk around the area.

Piste map of Gudauri Ski Resort, with the boxed Sadzele chairlift where the incident occured.

Initially, news reports and the footage at hand suggested that the breakdown was probably due to either a voltage fluctuation or brake issues – but the latest statement from Dimitry Kumsishvili, on the back of an investigation from inspection firm Bureau Veritas, has confirmed that while technical issues were part of the problem, there was an element of human error as well.

Kumsishvili also confirmed that several of the ranking staff at Gudauri have “addressed [him] with the request to suspend their offices”.

The statement said: “A Bureau Veritas expert arrived to Georgia upon the invitation of the Ministry of Economy in order to provide technical inspection aiming at revealing causes of the incident on 16 March in Gudauri.

“Bureau Veritas experts concluded that there really was [an] electricity failure, which led to the operation failure of the chairlift.”

A pile of up of chairlifts in Gudauri. The resort is open now and is being skied again.

However, the statement went on to quote Dimitry Kumsishvili, who said: “However, after the chairlift was stopped, the operator had to introduce a specific sequence of procedures and after implementation of the certain actions, the operator had to switch the chairlift on to the diesel generator power and bring the tourists to the safe site where they would have left the chairlift.

“Unfortunately, according to the current conclusion, the operator made a mistake.

“The combination of the actions that he should have had carried out were not implemented in compliance with the relevant instructions – it was a human error.

“Preliminary report will be transferred to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which will continues investigation and accordingly, will charge the liable persons in compliance with the existing legislation.

“In our turn, we distracted the operator rom his duties. In addition, two citizens addressed me with the request to suspend their offices. These are the Deputy Director of the Mountain Resort Development Company, Irakli Chirakadze and the Head of Gudauri Mountain Management Department, Kote Kadagidze. These two people also realize their responsibility, they feel moral responsibility and are keen to stop their authority.

“The Conclusion is as follows: safety rules were fully introduced but there was a human error factor.”

The statement reports that the chairlift was actually in perfect technical order and was inspected recently on 22 December.

Mountain Resorts Development Company of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia is in active cooperation with numerous international organizations and companies in order to retrain its employees – though they have already undergone substantial training in the past two years.

The on-duty operator has been suspended pending “the completion of the investigation”, and issues relating to the “charging of other liable persons will be detailed after completion of the official investigation”.

Read More

BREAKING | At Least Injured After Chairlift Malfunctions in Georgian Ski Resort

Georgian Chairlift | Gudauri Ski Resort Open as Usual After Horrifying Chairlift Malfunction



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