GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WATE) — A woman found dead under a Gatlinburg chair lift is believed to have jumped to her death on purpose, said a Gatlinburg city spokesman on Friday.
The body of a woman from La Vergne, Tennessee was recovered Thursday under a chair lift at Anakeesta in Gatlinburg. Witnesses told investigators that the individual “jumped from the chairlift,” the spokesman said.
State regulators were on scene Friday inspecting the Chondola Chair Lift. Because the aerial lift is considered a conveyance device, it is under the jurisdiction of the state’s Elevator Unit. Aerial lifts are inspected by the state every six months.
Anakeesta released this statement Friday afternoon, following the city’s update on the investigation:
“Based upon the City of Gatlinburg’s internal investigation, yesterday’s incident on July 28, 2022 was the result of an apparent suicide.
Following the incident, Anakeesta operated the lift long enough to allow the guests that were on the lift to exit. Anakeesta then immediately shut down the lift in an abundance of safety and to investigate the incident. Anakeesta used its transportation fleet to allow the guests to exit the mountain top.
The chair lift was thoroughly inspected 60 days ago by an outside inspector, and was again reviewed by our lift team after the incident. From initial review of the incident, it appears the death was not related to the operation of the lift The lift was found to be in safe working order. The State of Tennessee inspected the lift Friday, July 29th and they have approved the reopening of the lift. The lift will resume normal operations with park opening on Saturday, July 30th.
We mourn this tragic loss of life. Our deepest sympathies are with the family.”
The incident remains under investigation by the Gatlinburg Police.
If you or someone you know is struggling, you can call the national suicide prevention lifeline at 988 or the Tennessee statewide crisis line at 855-CRISIS-1 or text *T-N* to 741-741 for 24-hour help. The McNabb Center also has a crisis line that can be reached at 865-539-2409.