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.