BEECH MOUNTAIN, NC – Two people at the Beech Mountain Resort in Avery County were injured after a fire hydrant ruptured on Friday, according to a statement from management of the resort.
The rupture occurred after a guest skied through the water and air intake during snowmaking operations at the resort, west of Boone, near the state border. The skier was not injured.
The hose burst under a loaded chair on the ski lift, soaking other guests in the water. Avery County EMS took two people to a nearby hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Glenn Counts of Channel 9 spoke to two women who spoke about how terrifying the incident was.
“I have a lot of pain, mainly on the left side of my body. I have bruises from head to toe, some big, some small, like all over my body, ”said Emma Lopinto.
Lopinto just turned 19 on Friday and is studying to be a veterinarian at Clemson University. She said she went to Beech Mountain to celebrate her birthday.
She was on the ski lift with her best friend when she said she was hit by the geyser of water that gushed out of a pipe and fell.
“We just grabbed hold and put our heads down and all I remember is the metal bar flying off, then me flying away. I don’t remember anything and I remember opening my eyes with my stomach on the ground, ”said Lopinto.
A video circulating on social media showed that the elevator can be seen stopping and then moving again, with several people being sprayed with water in the 7-degree weather.
Ivy-Elise Ivey and her boyfriend could see what was going on and decided to jump 25 feet from a ski lift, along with several others.
“Everyone was in shock. You’re not going to jump 25 feet if you don’t think you did too, ”Ivey said.
She said she ended up breaking her arm, fracturing it around her elbow.
“I am in tremendous pain, even with the medication. I can’t get dressed. I can’t shower. I can’t drive. I can’t lift anything, and this hand my fingers are not working properly, ”said Ivey.
Ivey is disappointed with the way the resort has handled the issues. She wonders why it took so long to turn off the elevator and turn off the water.
Resort officials said she (Ivey) was not ordered to jump by resort staff.
“After the incident, she was assessed and stabilized by a ski patrol before leaving to see a doctor. As soon as we became aware of the problem, we acted as quickly as possible to shut off the water and help the remaining skiers disembark at the top of the lift. It was a very difficult situation for our guests and our staff. We very much regret that the incident has occurred and we once again apologize to the guests who have been affected, ”resort management said in a statement.
Lopinto is not worried about herself but also about her friend who might have spinal problems.
“She returned to the hospital today for a compression of her spine on her back,” she said. “I don’t want to blame anyone. I just want people to know this was a more serious event than what I feel like being told.
Lopinto is one of two patients who were taken to hospital by ambulance. Ivey was taken to hospital by her family.
Complex management said their operations and security team worked quickly to unload the elevator and drain the water intake system.
“We believe that everyone is alright outside of the unfortunate situation and that operations are going on a regular schedule,” said Beech Mountain Station management.
(SEE BELOW: Avery County gears up for snow)
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