One killed, several injured in chairlift accident

January 3, 2008 11:33:56 AM PST
A chairlift accident near the Alpine ski resort of Grindelwald killed one person and injured several others Thursday. An official in charge of investigating the incident said it appeared that a cable had jumped off its guide wheels on one of the lift's support towers, sending several chairs plummeting to the ground.

The national weather center said winds reached speeds of 56 miles per hour in the area at the time of the accident. Joseph Zeder of the independent investigation bureau for railway, funicular and boat accidents, told The Associated Press that it was too early to say what the cause of the accident was.

One man was killed and a woman suffered serious injuries in the incident, Zeder said. Several other people received minor injuries, he said.

Further details about the victims were not immediately available.

Other passengers had to be evacuated from the ground as high winds made the use of helicopters too dangerous, according to mountain rescue officials.

The accident occurred at about 1 p.m. on the Kleine-Scheidegg pass above Grindelwald, one of Switzerland's best-known tourist destinations.

Located 37 miles southeast of the capital, Bern, the town and its surrounding mountains -- which include the imposing Eiger, Moench and Jungfrau peaks -- draw tens of thousands of visitors each year.