BRITISH COLUMBIA

Crystal Mountain Ski Resort Shut Down After Ski Lift Break

03/03/2014 03:21 EST | Updated 03/04/2014 01:59 EST

An Okanagan ski resort has been shut down after a chairlift broke and sent four people to hospital.

Three chairs plunged six metres to the ground on Saturday at Crystal Mountain Resort, outside Kelowna, B.C. The B.C. Safety Authority has suspended its licence pending an investigation, reported The Vancouver Sun.

Crystal Mountain was the only resort in B.C. that was fined last year for unsafe lifts, said the Sun.

Paul Gervais was riding on the chairlift with his son, Dakota, when he said the seat "exploded."

"There wasn't a vibration, there wasn't a speed-up, there wasn't a slowdown. It was just BANG, and that chair just shot up straight up in the air," Gervais told CTV News.

Gervais was left clutching the rails, and holding his eight-year-old son, reported CBC News.

"I was just really freaked out that my dad's hand was going to slip out and I was going to fall to the ground but luckily he didn't [let go]," said Dakota, who is eight years old.

The ski lift, which has been in operation since 1967, is "very well maintained," Mike Morin, general manager of Crystal Mountain, told Castanet.

"I've been here for 20 years and we've never had anything even come close to this on the lift.... We have very stringent codes that we have to follow. So I'm anxious as everybody else to find out what the root cause is."

Witness Lee Kiester told Castanet that he saw a man from a fallen chair in a lot of pain, while another woman had rib and arm injuries.

Of the four injured people, one remains in critical condition, safety authority spokesman Quinn Newcomb told the Sun. Three patients worked at the ski resort while the fourth was a guest, according to CBC News.

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