Man dies after falling 40 metres from cable car at French ski resort

“It’s terrible. It's the first time an accident like this has happened at the station,” said the director of ski lift firm at Les Deux Alpes. The man was said to be drunk when the accident happened.

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[Update on 4/4/2023 at 14:40: The dead man was from Annonay, Ardèche, whilst his friend who filmed the incident is from Isère, according to FranceBleu]

A man has died after falling nearly 40 metres from a cable car at a French ski resort.

It happened at Les Deux Alpes on Saturday (April 1) afternoon.

The deceased, 29, and his friend, 23, who filmed the incident, were drunk and joking around in the cabin when the accident happened, according to Eric Vaillant, the public prosecutor for the city of nearby Grenoble.

A fall of 40 metres

The two men were coming down at the end of the ski day on the Jandri Express lift, alone in a cabin that can fit up to 20 people.

They were drunk, laughing and joking around in the cabin and filming each other on their mobile phones.

As the ski lift descended, one of the men crashed into the gondola’s plexiglass exterior, shattering it entirely before falling 40 metres onto the slope below, impaling himself on a beacon.

He was around 1m90 tall and weighed more than 100kgs, with his build allegedly contributing to the accident.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene when emergency services arrived.

Read also: French hospital inundated with 80 - 100 ski accidents a day

‘First accident of its kind at the resort’

An inquest into the man’s death has been opened. It will include further toxicology reports on the body, as well as investigate the safety of the cable car.

“It’s terrible. It's the first time an accident like this has happened in the station,” said Fabrice Boutet, director of SATA, which manages the resort’s ski lifts.

Mr Boutet said the gondolas had recently passed all of the required safety tests but the irresponsible actions of the men – along with the deceased’s build – caused the tragedy.

“That shouldn't happen in normal use. Everything was solid, the door did not break. And even the Plexiglas [of the door] stayed in the frames. It was in the centre that it broke. All the safety procedures of the cabin worked,” he said.

The ski resort opened the following day despite the accident.

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