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Bureau Veritas: the incident on 16 March in Gudauri

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Bureau Veritas expert arrived to Georgia upon the invitation of the Ministry of Economy in order to provide technical inspection aiming at revealing causes of the incident on 16 March in Gudauri. Today, preliminary report prepared by the Bureau Veritas is already available.

Bureau Veritas experts concluded that there really was electricity failure, which led to the operation failure of the chairlift. 

“However, after the chairlift was stopped, the operator had to introduce specific sequence of procedures and after implementation of the certain actions, the operator had to switch the chairlift on to the diesel generator power and bring the tourist to the safe site where they would have left the chairlift. 

Unfortunately, according to the current conclusion, the operator made a mistake. The combination of the actions that he should have had carried out were not implemented in compliance with the relevant instructions – it was a human error. 

Preliminary report will be transferred to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which will continues investigation and accordingly, will charge the liable persons in compliance with the existing legislation. 

In our turn, we distracted the operator rom his duties. In addition, two citizens addressed me with the request to suspend their offices. These are the Deputy Director of the Mountain Resort Development Company, Irakli Chirakadze and the Head of Gudauri Mountain Management Department, Kote Kadagidze. These two people also realize their responsibility, they feel moral responsibility and are keen to stop their authority. The Conclusion is as follows: safety rules were fully introduced but there was a human error factor,” – Dimitry Kumsishvili said.

According to the conclusion, the chairlift was provided with timely scheduled inspections and was in a perfect technical order. This was double-checked as well. At the same time, complete technical inspection was performed on December 22, 2017.

Mountain Resorts Development Company of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia is in active cooperation with numerous international organizations and companies in order to retrain its employees. During the past two years, technical personnel of the chairlifts of the resorts of Gudaur, Bakuriani, Svaneti and Goderdzi were actively involved in the training cources. In 2017, technical personnel were trained in a factory at the head office of the Dopplerier in Austria, which provided training in electric cable systems, safety, engines, hydraulics and other details. At the same time, important training was carried out for the technical personnel before the winter season 2017/2018 was opened. Training under the EU TAIEX program provided teaching by the French experts on safe operation of the chairlifts. In January 2018, the training conducted by the French ropeway company Poma was aimed at inspection and repair of the chairlift safety equipment and retraining of the chairlift staff.

Skiing resorts are equipped with the chairlifts produced by the world-known companies including the Austrian company Doppelmayr, which is the is the leader in the quality, technology and chairlift manufacturing. At this point, the Doppelmayr has installed 14 800 chairlifts in 92 countries. Doppelmayr has been actively cooperating with Georgia since 1986. There are 15 chairlifts installed in mountain ski resorts (6 in Gudauri, 6 in Bakuriani, 1 in Svaneti, 2 in Goderdzi) Innovative transport system is consistently in line with the world's advanced standards. The Doppelmayr also provided the construction of the Tbilisi Funicular and the cableway in Batumi.

Taking into account these facts, we can say that the March 16 accident in Gudauri was a single standing exception. 

Expert conclusion by the Bureau Veritas will serve as a basis for the decision issued by the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia regarding the incident in Gudauri. We will provide the final decision upon the results of the official investigation. In addition, the investigation will be continue by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the relevant results will be known later. Prior to the completion of the investigation, the authority will be suspended to the operator being on duty when the chairlift accident occurred. Issues related to charging of other liable persons will be detailed after completion of the official investigation.

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