+ A

Novice skier hits snowboarder in fatal accident

Jan 01,2018
A 46-year-old snowboarder died after colliding with a beginner skier on an advanced slope at a ski resort in South Gyeongsang, Saturday.

Around midday on Saturday a 46-year-old man surnamed Park was snowboarding down an advanced slope at Eden Valley Resort, a ski resort in Yangsan, South Gyeongsang. Directly behind him was a 17-year-old boy surnamed Jeong. As Park was zigzagging down the mountain and Jeong was making a straight descent, their paths overlapped in the final stretch and they hit each other at speed.

Park died shortly after being moved to a nearby hospital after suffering injuries to the head. Jeong is now being treated for serious injuries to his lower body.

During investigations, police discovered that Park was a veteran snowboarder with ten years of experience, while Jeong was a beginner skier. After reviewing CCTV footage provided by the resort, the police announced it was highly likely that Jeong was the one who crashed into Park. They could not confirm the cause of the crash because a ski lift obstructed the CCTV’s view just as the collision occurred.

Police also noted that Park was found without a helmet on after the accident, but are looking into the possibility that Park’s helmet may have popped off due to the impact of the crash.

“There are many who don’t wear helmets because it isn’t enforced,” one Eden Valley Resort employee explained. “It’s also difficult to control which level of ski slope visitors choose to go on.”

The police will carry out investigations to determine whether the resort was abiding by safety standards. Though there were some 10 ski patrollers watching over the advanced slope, none of them stopped Jeong as he made a straight descent. Like many ski resorts, Eden Valley Resort prohibits straight descents on its slopes due to their higher risk of causing accidents.

Police will also question witnesses and resort employees to identify the cause of the accident.

They are leaving open the possibility of charging Jeong with involuntary manslaughter after he recovers from his injuries.

In light of this accident, safety experts are urging ski resorts to obligate visitors to wear helmets to prevent similar accidents. They are also asking resorts to strictly prohibit beginners from entering advanced slopes.

Eden Valley Resort has resumed normal operations on its advanced ski slope.

BY CHOI EUN-KYUNG, LEE GA-YOUNG [kim.eunjin1@joongang.co.kr]