Brake failure blamed for Wisc. ski lift accident | VailDaily.com

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Brake failure blamed for Wisc. ski lift accident

This Dec. 17, 2009, photo shows first responders after they were called to the scene of a ski lift accident at Devil's Head Resort near Merrimac, Wis. Officials said the resort's ski lift was heading up the hill as usual when it suddenly stopped and started moving backward, injuring at least a dozen people. (AP Photo/Baraboo News Republic, Todd Krysiak)

This Dec. 17, 2009, photo shows first responders after they were called to the scene of a ski lift accident at Devil's Head Resort near Merrimac, Wis. Officials said the resort's ski lift was heading up the hill as usual when it suddenly stopped and started moving backward, injuring at least a dozen people. (AP Photo/Baraboo News Republic, Todd Krysiak)

MADISON, Wis. – State officials say brake failure is to blame for a ski lift near Merrimac suddenly running backward, injuring at least 14 skiers and snowboarders.

But the Wisconsin State Journal reports it remains unclear why the brake failed at Devil’s Head Resort Dec. 17.

State Department of Commerce spokeswoman Barbro McGinn said the agency ended its on-site investigation Monday and could release a report before Friday.

In a statement, commerce officials said significant mechanical failures are rare. It also said when failures occur inspectors will ensure all safety measures are addressed.

A statement from the resort’s general manager, Joe Vittengl, on the resort’s Web site says the lift will remain out of service until the investigation and repairs are complete.

The resort’s nine other lifts are operating on a normal schedule.

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Information from: Wisconsin State Journal, http://www.madison.com/wsj

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