In the kind of accident that normally only happens in Final Destination movies, 10 people were injured in the country of Georgia when a ski lift went haywire, flinging horrified skiers and snowboarders off the chairs and into the snow. Rather than running at a slow and leisurely pace, the lift malfunctioned and started moving extremely fast and in reverse. If you'd like to watch video of the rogue ski lift in action, you can, but be warned: It probably won't make you want to go skiing anytime soon.
"The movement of the lift stopped and a minute later we drove back," eyewitness Iryna Iadak told CNN. "The speed increased, it was out of control. The lift could not be stopped. People began to jump from different altitudes, panic began. Many did not manage to jump off and were thrown out from the impact."
One video of the incident, which took place at a resort in Gudauri, shows passengers on the lift being thrown off by centrifugal force as the chairs whip around a corner much faster than any ski lift ever should. Another video depicts skiers and snowboarders leaping from the chairs mid-air to avoid being crushed at the bottom of the hill.
“Three of us were on a ski lift when it stopped. Two minutes later [the] ski lift began hurtling us backwards toward the bottom at a high speed, double the normal,” snowboarder Yuri Leontiev recalled to ABC News. “We had to jump from the ski lift onto the mountain as our chair sped backwards toward the meat grinder at the bottom of the ski lift. It was like a nightmare!"
As the chairs continued to speed around the corner, one of them got stuck on its rails and stopped moving. But the chairs behind it kept right on going, eventually creating a pileup of broken, twisted metal.
The Mountain Resorts Development Company wrote on its Facebook page that that the accident stemmed from a problem with the ski lift's ropes, according to ABC News' translation of the post, and that it has contacted the lift's manufacturer about the incident.
"According to initial information, Sadzele ski lift in Gudauri stopped working, chairs crashed into each other with riders suspended in the air, causing health injury of medium gravity," the company said, according to CNN. "As a result, according to preliminary data, 10 people were injured."
Mountain Resorts Development Company told CNN that the injured guests were taken to a clinic at the resort, and that three ambulance crew members were deployed to the scene. According to Pravda Report, eight people were hospitalized as a result of the accident. A pregnant woman was among those injured, the Russian newspaper also reported, although she only complained of pain in her back.
The prospect of a malfunctioning ski lift is horrifying for any fan of winter sports. Although there are no precise statistics on ski lift accidents, the Christian Science Monitor reports that between 1973 and 2010, there were 12 ski lift-related deaths in the U.S.. There have been at least two more such accidents since then: A seven-year-old died after falling from a ski lift in California in 2011, while a Texas woman was killed in 2016 after being hurled off of a ski lift in Colorado.
The 2010 horror film Frozen — which is not related to the beloved musical of the same name — is premised on the idea of a broken ski lift. In the movie, three friends become stranded in mid-air for a week after their ski lift malfunctions, forcing them to make life-or-death decisions in a race against time.
Miraculously, none of the victims in the real-life incident in Georgia were seriously injured. They probably won't be getting on a ski lift anytime soon, though.