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Woman dies after lifting safety bar and ‘leaping to death’ from 40-foot chairlift at TN theme park

‘Seconds later, she jumped’: Woman dies after lifting safety bar and ‘jumping to her death’ from 40-foot chairlift at Tennessee theme park, witnesses claim

  • A woman, believed to be in her 20s, died Thursday night after falling 10 feet from a chairlift at Anakeesta Theme Park in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
  • First responders stood next to a black body bag that contained a woman as guests rode on the chairlift
  • Witnesses allege the woman killed herself after ‘putting down her railing on the highest part of the ride…a few seconds later she jumped’
  • Police have not released her cause of death and it is unknown at this time whether it was accidental or intentional
  • The chairlift was last inspected at the end of April and is inspected every six months. Friday morning after the fall again inspected by the state

A woman died after she “jumped” 40 feet to her death from a chairlift at a Tennessee amusement park after lifting the safety bar and jumping off it, witnesses claimed.

First responders stood next to a black body bag that contained an unidentified woman who is believed to be in her 20s after falling from the Anakeesta chairlift in Gatlinburg, Tennessee on Thursday night.

Authorities have not released her cause of death as it is under investigation, but several witnesses have claimed the woman committed suicide.

Andrew Berta, who was in the park with his family on Thursday night, said they were next in line to get on the chairlift when an officer arrived “crying.”

“We talked to the officer after he came up the mountain literally crying. It was suicide,” Berta claimed on Facebook. “A family we spoke to and an employee who saw it said the girl had put her railing on the top of the ride…a few seconds later she jumped.”

Several witnesses on the chairlift confirmed that the girl’s safety bar was raised before her death, but her official cause of death has not been released.

An unidentified woman, believed to be in her 20s, was seen in a body bag (pictured) after falling off a chairlift in Tennessee.  Several guests reported yelling at her to let her know the bar was open, but she didn't respond

An unidentified woman, believed to be in her 20s, was seen in a body bag (pictured) after falling off a chairlift in Tennessee. Several guests reported yelling at her to let her know the bar was open, but she didn’t respond

The girl fell from 40 feet (pictured) and several witnesses claim she lifted her safety at the highest point and jumped seconds later.  Police have not confirmed whether it was an accident or suicide

The girl fell from 40 feet (pictured) and several witnesses claim she lifted her safety at the highest point and jumped seconds later. Police have not confirmed whether it was an accident or suicide

The chairlift (pictured) has very little protection other than a lap bar that can be detached

The chairlift (pictured) has very little protection other than a lap bar that can be detached

The incident took place at the Anakeesta theme park (pictured) in Gatlinburg, Tennessee

The incident took place at the Anakeesta theme park (pictured) in Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Even after she fell, the theme park – which is in the mountains and only accessible by bus or chairlift – continued to operate the lift for another 10 to 15 minutes, telling guests ‘don’t [to] look down.’

“You could see the concern on everyone’s face that started,” said witness Jay Deuro, who posted a video of the body bag on Twitter. WVLT.

The chairlift was last inspected and found safe at the end of April. Anakeesta has the chairlift inspected every six months and the operating license was due to expire on August 10. However, the new permit for the lift had already been approved.

The park has ordered a re-inspection of the elevator after the fatal fall. The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s chief elevator inspector conducted the inspection this morning.

The chairlift is closed today, according to Anakeesta’s social media pages, but the park remains open.

Berta also said the park started using “shuttle buses” that could only hold 16 people at a time after the chairlift closed, leaving “hundreds of families waiting in the rain… for hours.”

He claimed he was in line to leave around 7pm and wasn’t back at his car until 12:15pm.

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Andrew Berta, who was in the park with his family, said a police officer came

Andrew Berta, who was in the park with his family, said a police officer came “crying” over. Berta claimed that the young woman committed suicide, but this has not been confirmed by the authorities

“There were literally hundreds of people behind us in line when we left,” he wrote on Facebook.

In a statement, the park said “our hearts are with the family of the deceased,” but it could not release further information at this time due to the investigation.

The investigation could take up to eight weeks and until then information will be limited, police said.

DailyMail.com has reached out to Anakeesta and the Gatlinburg Police Department for comment.

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