Tragedy in ski country: A mother died and her two daughters were injured in a fall from a chair lift at a ski resort in Colorado Thursday. Authorities say the 40-year-old woman from Texas and the girls, ages 9 and 12, fell around 20 feet from the lift onto snow at the Ski Granby Ranch, the AP reports. One girl was hospitalized in stable condition and the other was airlifted to a hospital near Denver, around 90 miles away. The resort's operation director says the three were the only people on a four-person lift and they "came out of their chair" somewhere between the loading area and the summit. Police and state regulators are investigating the incident, which ski industry groups say was an extremely rare event.
The National Ski Areas Association says that between 2004 and October of this year, there were just three recorded deaths from ski lift falls. The last chair lift death blamed on a malfunction was in 1993, according to the NSAA. Since the last fatal accident in Colorado, in 2002, "there have been 1.7 billion chair lift rides," a spokesman for Colorado Ski Country USA tells the Denver Post. "It's super rare. It really doesn't happen very often, and it's not something that folks need to be concerned about." Witnesses to Thursday's accident tell CBS Denver that there had been problems with the chair lift over the last few days, with each stop causing the chairs to sway.