A female snowboarder found herself trapped for 15 hours inside a ski gondola in the midst of freezing temperatures at a Lake Tahoe resort, according to the Associated Press. She kept warm by rubbing her hands and feet together.
Monica Laso stepped into a gondola at Heavenly Ski Resort around 5:00 p.m. on Thursday. She planned to take the lift down the mountain because she was too tired to snowboard down, but the gondola stopped just minutes later, leaving her swinging in the sky.
Though she yelled for help, no one on the ground could hear her. She did not have a cellphone, making it impossible to call someone for assistance, according to a report from KCRA. She went on to say “I screamed desperately until I lost my voice,” Laso said in Spanish during an interview with the television station.
She spent the remainder of the night rubbing her feet and hands together to keep warm, according to the report. The temperature in the area had dropped to 23 degrees that evening.
Laso’s friends soon reported her missing to the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday when she did not return from her outing on the mountain. The AP reported that she was not discovered until Friday morning when the gondola started back up again for the day.
The ski resort has vowed to get to the bottom of how Laso got trapped overnight. The resort is located on the southeastern side of the lake, near the California-Nevada border.
Tom Fortune, the resort’s vice president and chief operating officer, said in a statement that “[t]he safety and wellbeing of our guests is our top priority at Heavenly Mountain Resort.”
Kim George, a battalion chief and spokesperson for South Lake Tahoe Fire Rescue, said paramedics were dispatched to the resort around 8:30 a.m., shortly after Laso was discovered by the resort.
The report noted that Laso was responsive when she was found and refused to receive medical attention at a local hospital. George went on to say that she had never seen anything like this in her 23 years of service, adding “I’m very curious to hear the story.”
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the gondola had been closed earlier this month for mechanical reasons. It is uncertain if a mechanical issue played a part in the incident.
The sheriff’s office did not initially return requests for comment, per the AP.
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