A San Antonio, Texas mother has died after plummeting off a Colorado ski chairlift with her two children while vacationing at a family-oriented resort.
Kelly Huber, 40, perished in the tragedy, but her two children, daughters ages 9 and 12, survived. Huber was pronounced dead at a hospital about an hour after the fall.
It’s not yet clear what caused the fall, and the tragedy remains under investigation.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Huber & Her Children Plunged 25 Feet Into the Snow
The mother and children were skiing at Grandby Ranch, which is a ski resort 90 miles from Denver, when they slipped off the chairlift and fell 25 feet into snow, reported MySanAntonio.com.
An eyewitness, Allen McGirl, wrote on Facebook: “I am so sad to have witnessed the 3 people fall off the chair lift at granby ranch this morning. If only the mother would have lowered the safety bar, This would not have happened. Now the mother is dead and the two little girls will never be the same. My heart goes out to their family.”
He also wrote: “I was three chairs back and saw everything and was warning my group I was with. Terrifying. Warning about the swaying side to side. No other chairs were swinging like that. The bar hit the sign on the pole and they dropped out. I can’t get out of my head watching that moment and cpr for 5 to 10 min.” The Denver Post reported Huber died “from blunt force trauma to her torso and a traumatic rupture of the aorta.”
The chair remained connected to the lift, and many other people on the slopes and chairlift saw the family fall, The Denver Post said. The eyewitnesses are now being interviewed to help investigators unravel what happened.
The chairlift was halfway up the slope when the family fell.
2. Huber Worked for a Health Insurance Company
Huber’s LinkedIn site says she was vice president and director of National Producer Programs for Aetna. She wrote: “Responsible for programs in the 2-3,000 EE space designed to drive profitable growth with our top producers in small group and middle market. All General Agent contracting for Individual, Small Group and Middle Market. Management of key national (multi-state) distribution relationships.”
She had worked for the company in various capacities since 1993. Huber attended the University of Texas at San Antonio, receiving her BBA in Business Management, Leadership and Administration.
3. The Youngest Child Was Taken by Helicopter to a Hospital & Huber Left Behind a Fiancee
The names of Huber’s children were not released. However, the Denver Post reported that the 9-year-old girl was taken by Flight for Life to Children’s Hospital in Colorado.
The 12-year-old girl was treated and released, the newspaper said.
Michael Hunsucker, Huber’s fiancee, has a photo of the couple as his profile picture on Facebook and a photo of a ski slope as his cover photo. Hunsucker is in Colorado, as is the girls’ father, reported News4 San Antonio. The television station said that Huber’s father and sister have flown to Colorado to be with her daughters.
4. Huber Wrote About Her Love of Colorado Ski Vacations
On Facebook, Huber posted several photos with the girls skiing or of ski hills.
In 2013, she posted a photo of a fox in the snow and wrote, “In Breckenridge… He came up to the window several times. He ate out of our hands!! He was so beautiful. I wanted to pet him but decided against that. Lol.”
In April, she changed her Facebook cover photo to a ski hill with the sunset over it, and wrote, “I can’t take credit for the photo. But it’s one of my favorites of my home away from home #breckenridge.”
5. Chair Lift Falls Are Extremely Rare
MySanAntonio.com says a person hasn’t fallen off a ski chairlift in Colorado since 2002. That person also died.
In January 2016, a “32-year-old man who threw a snowboarder off a chairlift at Aspen Highlands in January pleaded not guilty Wednesday by reason of insanity in connection with the incident,” The Aspen Times said. The snowboarder lived.
Colorado’s worst ski tragedy occurred in 1976 when “two cars from Vail’s seven-year-old gondola – each carrying six skiers – plummeted 125 feet early on March 26, 1976. Three people – two teenage girls and a mother – died instantly and a fourth man died later,” said The Post.