GATLINBURG, Tenn. – Update 3:33 p.m. EDT July 29
Investigators with the Gatlinburg Police Department said in a news release that a woman found beneath a chairlift at Anakeesta had jumped to her death.
Officials are investigating after a woman was found dead beneath a chairlift at a theme park in the Smoky Mountains.
The woman, who has not been identified, was found underneath the scenic Chondola at Anakeesta in Gatlinburg just after 7:30 p.m., WATE reported.
Visitors to Anakeesta take either a scenic Chondola or a Ridge Rambler to access the park. The Chondolas are either open-air four-person chairs with a safety bar or enclosed gondolas with seating for six.
Witnesses told WVLT that the woman fell from an open chair when the ride was approximately three-quarters of the way up the mountain. Jeffrey McConnell, one of the witnesses, told WVLT that other visitors tried to alert the woman that her safety railing was up.
Gatlinburg police confirmed they were investigating a death at the theme park, but did not say how the woman died, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported.
In a statement to WATE, Anakeesta said: “A tragic incident occurred this evening. 911 was called immediately. Our hearts are with the family of the deceased.”
McConnell told WVLT that the ride was kept open after the incident, with employees telling people waiting in line to “not look down” on the way up.
In a statement, Anakeesta said the lift was operated after the incident only long enough to allow guests who were onboard to exit. A spokesperson said the ride had been thoroughly inspected 60 days prior by an outside inspector and was again inspected after the incident.
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 to connect with a trained counselor or visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline site.
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