Coroner clarifies circumstances of death on Vail chairlift

Colorado News

VAIL, Colo. (Vail Daily) — The Eagle County coroner says a skier who died in an accident on a chairlift at Vail did not fall through a gap in the seat as was previously reported.

Coroner Kara Bettis says 46-year-old Jason Varnish died of “positional asphyxia” when he became entangled by his clothing after it became caught in a part of the chairlift. She says the New Jersey man could not breathe because his coat had tightened around his chest and abdominal area.

The Vail Daily reports his death has been ruled an accident. An Eagle County news release says at least one witness told investigators the chairlift seat was up when Varnish and a companion tried to load in Vail’s Blue Sky Basin on Feb. 13.

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