Bulgarian technical inspectors check ski lifts after child falls several metres

Bulgaria’s Agency for Metrology and Technical Surveillance has begun check-ups of ski lifts after a child fell more than four metres after a door opened on a cabin lift on Sofia’s Vitosha Mountain.

The facts of the incident, in which the five-year-old boy had no serious injuries. on January 24 are disputed. Vitosha Ski, the concession-holder, has said that the door of the cabin lift must have been put under considerable pressure. The boy’s father has denied this and has said that he will take court action against Vitosha Ski.

The incident is the first of its kind in Bulgaria. Bulgarian National Radio said that the manufacturers of the lift in Austria said that no such incident had ever occurred there.

The rules require that the agency must now check the locking mechanisms of all cabin lifts in all ski resorts, not just Vitosha. The inspections began on January 25 on the Simeonovsko lifts on Vitosha Mountain, which ran empty while the checks were underway.

The January 24 incident happened just after the cabinet lift, in which a family with two children were travelling, had passed the intermediate station. The door opened and the boy fell, a distance described in various reports either as three to four metres, in others eight metres.

The boy was not seriously harmed and was taken for a checkup at Sofia’s Pirogov emergency hospital. Doctors said that there was no need for him to be admitted for treatment.

After the incident, the cabinet lift was removed from the funicular and sealed and the entire facility temporarily suspended.

The boy’s father denied that anyone had put pressure on the door. Vitosha Ski said that there could have been a struggle in the lift that resulted in considerable pressure, forcing the door open. The company added that it was not possible that there was a technical problem, because had there been one, it would have happened at the station, not while the lift was underway.

In a post on Facebook, the father alleged that Vitosha Ski was lying and trying to put the blame on him. He added that that he also blamed the concession-holder for the recent avalanche in which two tourists died, saying that the avalanche was the result of the “whole mountain being neglected and abandoned”.

The Agency for Metrology and Technical Surveillance said that its inspection would be completed within seven days. The Sofia directorate of the Interior Ministry is also investigating the case.



The Sofia Globe staff

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