Texas mom who died in chair­lift fall is iden­ti­fied

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Jesse Paul

In­ves­ti­ga­tors on Fri­day iden­ti­fied the 40-year-old San An­to­nio mother who died Thurs­day when she and her two daugh­ters fell about 25 feet from a chair­lift at Ski Granby Ranch.

Kelly Huber was pro­nounced dead at Mid­dle Park Med­i­cal Cen­ter in Granby at about 10:45 a.m., where she was taken after the 9:30 a.m. fall. A rul­ing on her cause and man­ner of death is pend­ing an au­topsy sched­uled for Satur­day.

Grand County of­fi­cials have yet to pro­vide fur­ther de­tails on how the Texas mother and her two young girls fell from the lift. Au­thor­i­ties say the case re­mains un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Huber’s 9-year-old daughter was taken to Mid­dle Park be­fore be­ing flown by Flight for Life to Chil­dren’s Hospi­tal Colorado. Her other daughter, who is 12, was treated at Mid­dle Park and re­leased. An up­date on the younger girl’s con­di­tion was not avail­able Fri­day, said Schelly Ol­son, a spokes­woman for the in­ci­dent com­mand.

Huber was va­ca­tion­ing in Colorado with her daugh­ters and other fam­ily mem­bers, au­thor­i­ties say. It re­mained un­clear Fri­day what prompted the fall, caus­ing the first chair­lift fall death in Colorado in 14 years.

Huber was a long­time em­ployee of the health in­sur­ance provider Aetna, ac­cord­ing to the com­pany.

“She was a loved and re­spected Aetna em­ployee,” the com­pany said in a state­ment. “Our thoughts are with all those af­fected by this tragedy.”

Ol­son said Huber and her daugh­ters were the only ones on the chair when they fell some­where be­tween the lift’s load­ing area and sum­mit. The chair re­mained at­tached to the line.

Ol­son also said there were many wit­nesses: “Peo­ple on the chairs in front. Peo­ple on the chairs in back. Peo­ple on the hill.”

The three fell from the Quick Draw Ex­press lift. The lift — a de­tach­able quad, which is often called a “high­speed” lift — re­mained closed Fri­day.

The Grand County Sher­iff ’s Of­fice and Granby Po­lice De­part­ment are in­ves­ti­gat­ing, as is the Colorado Pas­sen­ger Tramway Safety Board.

The safety board said Fri­day the lift “will re­main closed un­til deemed safe for pub­lic op­er­a­tion,” but did not give an es­ti­mated time­line.

Ski Granby Ranch is about 20 miles west of Win­ter Park. The small, 400acre fam­ily-ori­ented re­sort is known as a spot for begin­ners.

Chair­lift deaths from mal­func­tions or falls are ex­ceed­ingly rare in the United States, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Ski Ar­eas As­so­ci­a­tion. Deaths from mal­func­tions have to­taled just 12 from 1973 through Oc­to­ber, and there were three deaths from falls be­tween 2004 and Oc­to­ber, the NSAA re­ports.

The last chair­lift fall death in Colorado is be­lieved to have oc­curred in 2002.

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