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Devil's Head ski lifts shutdown after accident

MERRIMAC - Six of the 10 lifts at Devil's Head Resort have been shut down as inspectors try to find the problem that caused one ski lift to suddenly run backward.

Fourteen skiers and snowboarders were injured. The state Commerce Department is heading the investigation at the resort in Merrimac, about 30 miles northwest of Madison.

Observers say the chair lift was operating normally Thursday evening at about 7 p.m. -- when it stopped and suddenly reversed direction. Witnesses say dozens of skiers jumped off the lift to avoid smashing into a wall at the bottom. Some fell more than 20 feet.

The general manager at Devil's Head says the lift was inspected before the season started and all lifts are being inspected again.