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Skier suffocates to death after getting caught in chairlift

SKI INDUSTRY
Posted at 7:20 PM, Feb 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-15 19:20:18-05

VAIL, Colo. -- Officials say a skier appears to have suffocated to death at a Colorado resort after he fell through an opening in a chairlift seat and became caught with his coat wrapped around his head and neck.

The Vail Daily reports 46-year-old Jason Varnish of Short Hills, New Jersey, died Thursday.

The Eagle County Coroner Kara Bettis says the death has been ruled an accident. She says the chairlift's folding seat was upright instead of in the down position, leaving a gap.

"According to our initial investigation, the deceased slipped through the seat of the chair lift and his ski coat got caught up in the chair," Bettis wrote. "The coat ended up going up around his head and neck area putting his neck in a position that compromised his airway.”

Authorities are investigating.