UPDATE posted 12:21 PM

AUGUSTA – The Maine Elevator and Tramway Safety Board voted unanimously today to recommend a new licensing standard for ski lift mechanics.

The 7-0 vote came at the end of a meeting to review the Dec. 28 chairlift derailment at Sugarloaf Mountain Resort. Elevator mechanics are already licensed by the state and at least one long-time board member pushed unsuccessfully for licensing of lift mechanics in 2003 and 2007.

The Legislature must decide to set any new licensing standards. The board intends to send a letter recommending such a law.

Maine’s chief safety inspector told the board, meanwhile, that he has tightened up oversight of Maine’s ski areas and the private inspectors who certify the safety of lifts.

Posted: 10:41 AM

AUGUSTA — The state’s chief ski lift safety inspector formally presented his findings today on Dec. 28 chairlift accident at Sugarloaf Mountain Resort.

John Burpee outlined a series of maintenance and training failures that he says likely contributed to the accident. He found no single cause for the derailment, but said a mechanic attempted an improper adjustment on the misaligned lift just before it collapsed.

Seven members of the Maine Elevator and Tramway Safety Board spent much of the morning listening and asking questions. The meeting is continuing and board members are expected to discuss such issues as whether lift mechanics should be licensed, something that Maine’s Legislature would have to approve.

Five loaded chairs fell about 30 feet to the snow when the Spillway East lift derailed. Eight skiers were treated at area hospitals for their injuries.

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