Man killed by coat in freak ski lift accident

Man killed by coat in freak ski lift accident in Colorado

VAIL, Colo. — Investigators said a New Jersey man was killed by his coat in a freak accident on a Vail, Colorado, ski lift.

Jason Varnish died of positional asphyxia, Eagle County Coroner Kara Bettis said. She has ruled the 46-year-old man’s death an accident, Vail Daily reported.

Bettis told Vail Daily that Varnish somehow slipped through the seat of the chair lift and his coat got caught. The coat went around his head and neck, cutting off his airway.

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The seat was folded up, instead of down to allow riders to sit, witnesses told officials.

The accident happened on the Skyline Express lift in the Blue Sky Basin, NBC News reported.

The lift was shut down for about 24 hours after the incident as it was inspected. Vail Resorts officials said in a statement that the lift is operating normally.

Another incident in 2009 showed a man on the same chairlift when the seat wasn’t in the proper position for sitting, hanging from the lift, upside down from his pants, Vail Daily reported.

FILE PHOTO: A man was killed when his coat got stuck on a ski lift in Vail, Colorado.
FILE PHOTO: A man was killed when his coat got stuck on a ski lift in Vail, Colorado. (John Moore/Getty Images)