According to the Russian newspaper Pravda Report, the chair lift was somehow shifted into reverse by an operator, which caused it to malfunction.
As videos show, the lift then began hurtling passengers back toward the bottom of the mountain at high speed, to the audible horror of bystanders.
It’s hard to pick out the most alarming aspect of the videos.
Some skiers could be seen jumping off onto the mountain as their chairs sped backward. Others held on until they were at the bottom of the lift — only to be flung into the air by the force of their chair getting whipped back around the line.
At least one skier appeared to be trapped on the ground near the chairs’ lowest point, where a pile of deformed metal chairs would later accumulate as they slammed into one that had fallen off the cable.
Throughout, screaming onlookers can be heard pleading for the lift to be stopped.
Eight people were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, according to Pravda Report.
Since a complete description of this reporter’s reaction — exclamation points, profanity and all — can’t be reprinted in The Washington Post, we’ll leave it to Deadspin’s Drew Magary to sum up how terrifying this truly is.
As his expletive-laden summary concludes: “Miraculously, no one was killed, so let’s wish these skiers a full recovery, and all agree to never ski again.”