UPDATE Children Among Those who Fell at Sugarloaf 

A hospital spokeswoman says some of the skiers who fell from a failed chair lift at one of Maine’s most popular ski resorts were children. Franklin Memorial Hospital spokeswoman Jill Gray says eight people were taken to her hospital from the Sugarloaf Resort in Carrabassett Valley. That’s where a 35-year-old chair lift set for upgrades or replacement failed Tuesday. It sent skiers plummeting as far as 30 feet into new-fallen snow. Gray wouldn’t comment on the patients’ conditions but said they included children and adults. One person was transferred to Maine Medical Center in Portland. The lift went into service in 1975 and recently passed an inspection. The resort says it was set for improvements but wouldn’t say when. (Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)Sugarloaf officials have released the following update: Carrabassett Valley, Maine (Dec. 28, 2010) – An inspector from the State of Maine Board of Elevator and Tramway Safety arrived at Sugarloaf this afternoon to conduct an investigation into the causes of today’s accident on the Spillway East chairlift.  Sugarloaf personnel are assisting in the investigation.  Additional engineering personnel are expected to arrive this evening and will join the investigation team on Wednesday. A seventh chairlift passenger was sent to Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington, Maine as a precautionary measure early this afternoon.  That individual had been checked at the scene by resort medical personnel and stated that he was fine, but later reported feeling some pain and was transported to the hospital. For reasons of patient confidentiality, Sugarloaf cannot release specific information related to the identities or medical condition of those involved. “We’re deeply concerned about those who were injured,” said Sugarloaf spokesman Ethan Austin, “and we’re committed to understanding the cause of this incident.  We want our guests to have fun, but our first priority is their safety.” Austin said that weather conditions at the mountain today were windy, but not atypical for Sugarloaf immediately after a major snowstorm.  Operations on the Spillway East were delayed this morning due to the wind, which diminished by mid-morning.  Resort personnel checked the lift prior to opening. The resort plans normal operations for the remainder of the week with the exception of the Spillway East chair, which will remain closed until the preliminary investigation is completed and the lift is cleared by the State of Maine to resume operation. Statement Issued Today at the 1:15 Press Conference at the Sugarloaf Mountain Hotel:Today, at approximately 10:30am, the Spillway East Chairlift experienced a rope derailment.  At this time, we have 6 injured guests who have been treated and transported from the mountain. All available mountain safety personnel are at the scene.  The injured parties have been taken off the mountain.  Additionally, the remaining guests on the lift have been evacuated. As of now, the cause of the incident is still unknown and is under investigation.  The Spillway East chair is a 2 passenger monocable fixed grip chair manufactured and installed by Borvig in 1975. This lift was modified in 1983. Spillway East is 4,013 feet long with a vertical of 1,454 feet. This chair moves at a speed of 500 feet per minute and the chairs are 50 feet apart. Their are 162 chairs on this lift each weighing 140lbs. Spillway East has a 250 horsepower motor and has a capacity for 1,200 skiers per hour. The Spillway Chairs run parallel up the Spillway trail. Spillway East runs to the top of the Sluice Headwall and you can access all terrain below the Spillway X-Cut. The chairlift receives routine daily inspections for safety.  Additionally, the chairlift receives weekly, monthly and yearly maintenance and testing.  The lift is also inspected annually for its safety from the State of Maine Board of Elevator and Tramway Safety.  Sugarloaf Mountain and its employees are concerned for the people involved, additionally the resort would like to express its gratitude to all the safety personnel that have responded to this incident. Sugarloaf Mountainis absolutely committed to the safety of its guests and employees. Sugarloaf Mountainwill issue updates on this site as new information becomes available.