VAIL, Colo. (CBS4) – A New Jersey man died Thursday in a chairlift accident at Vail’s Blue Sky Basin. Jason Varnish, 46, died of positional asphyxia while riding the Skyline Express Lift, according to the Eagle County Coroner.
Coroner Kara Bettis said the lift’s fold-down seat cushion was not in the lowered position. According to the initial investigation, Varnish’s ski coat became stuck in the chair. Bettis said the coat went around Varnish’s head, putting his neck in a position that compromised his airway.READ MORE: COVID In Colorado: Counties Prepare Local COVID Dials As State COVID Dial Is Set To Expire
Vail Mountain Ski Patrol responded to the chairlift and performed CPR and emergency care before Varnish was transported to Vail Health, where he was pronounced deceased.READ MORE: GoFundMe Set Up For Brad Brubaker's Family, Victim In Denver Highland's Crash
“Vail Mountain and the entire Vail Resorts family express our sincere condolences and extend our support to the guest’s family and friends,” said Beth Howard, Chief Operating Officer for Vail Mountain.
The Eagle County Sheriff’s Office was called to help with the investigation, which was concluded by the coroner’s office.MORE NEWS: Marijuana Delivery & Consumption Clubs Closer To Being Approved By Denver City Council
“We take all incidents seriously and are conducting a full investigation,” said John Plack, Senior Communications Manager for Vail and Beaver Creek. “The lift has been thoroughly inspected and is operating normally.”