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Bennington

Investigation continues in Crotched chairlift accident

BENNINGTON — The State Fire Marshal’s Office is still investigating the Dec. 11, 30-foot fall of a mother and daughter from “The Rocket,” Crotched Mountain’s new high-speed chairlift. But criminal intent and mechanical malfunctions have been ruled out as possible causes of the accident.

Chief Tramway Safety Inspector W. Briggs Lockwood of the State Fire Marshal’s Office said in an interview Thursday that he is confident there was nothing wrong with the ski lift and there is no evidence of any criminal aspect in the case. His next step is to interview witnesses to the event and set up interviews with the two victims. He said he hopes to have a final report on the incident this week.

Lockwood said there is an inherent risk with operating chairlifts. “It’s something that happens occasionally in the industry,” Lockwood said, referring to falls.

Bennington Police Chief Steve Campbell said he thinks the incident was purely an accident. “[Police] heard that the safety bar wasn’t down, and we have heard that the girl slipped and then the mom tried to get her and then she slipped too,” Campbell said Thursday.

Following the accident, the 6-year-old was transported to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center via DHART helicopter and her mother, a Hollis resident, was transported there by ambulance, according to a release issued by Lockwood on Dec. 13. According to the same report, both are in stable condition and recovering.

In an interview with Bennington Police Chief Steve Campbell on Dec. 12, he said the mother sustained a leg injury and the daughter was complaining of serious abdominal pain, “so probably internal injuries.”

Crotched Mountain General Manager Pat Terry has said the safety bar was not pulled down at the time of the accident.

Lindsey Arceci can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 232, or larceci@ledgertranscript.com.

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