Chairlift wrongly arranged

The Coronet Peak chairlift that trapped a Queenstown woman last year, leaving her with severe neck injuries, was found to be wrongly configured, the Department of Labour said.

On June 13, Janine Learmonth was caught on the back of the helmet and pinned down by the restraining bar of the Meadows chairlift when she leaned forward to check on one of her children.

In a recent summary of the findings from the Department of Labour investigation into the incident, service manager John Pannett, of Invercargill, said the downward force of the restraining bar on the newly installed chairlift was in excess of the manufacturer's recommended settings.

Mr Pannett said an improvement notice had been issued to NZSki to set the force on the restraining bars accordingly and have the restraining-bar force settings independently checked before the start of each ski season.

NZSki chief executive James Coddington said the notice had been complied with, and he was completely happy with how the chairlift was functioning.

"After the incident, the manufacturer came over, made any required adjustments and those adjustments have been very successful and there have been no incidents since the June 13 incident."

Signs had been put in place to warn users not to wear backpacks on the lifts.

"When you have a backpack on the chairlift it brings you forward, and with an automatic safety bar, that's not ideal, so we took the precautionary measure to ensure that people know about it," Mr Coddington said.

Mrs Learmonth was still recovering and said she would probably take a couple of years to heal properly.

However, she does not bear any ill will towards NZSki and said her family had since ridden the lift, which was "completely different".


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