By Melissa Garcia
GEORGETOWN, Colo. (CBS4) – A family is searching for answers after the death of a Loveland Ski Area lift mechanic killed in a tragic accident.
The employee, identified as Adam Lee, 40, was killed around 11 a.m. Thursday while working on one of three “magic carpet ride” lifts at Loveland Ski Area’s valley, officials said.
“It’s a nightmare,” said the victim’s sister, Amanda Lee. “And knowing that he’s leaving behind all of these beautiful children.”
The father of four children died three days after Christmas while working at a job he loved.
“He was a really dedicated employee,” said Adam’s wife, Erika Lee. “He went in early, he stayed late. He went in on days off. He loved that place. That was his life.”
Erika arrived at her Empire home Thursday evening after working a shift at her second job to the news of her husband’s sudden death in a “freak accident.”
Soon after, she said, she learned some of the horrific details from Adam’s co-workers.
“He was under the magic carpet conveyor belt,” Erika told CBS4’s Melissa Garcia. “And that’s supposed to have a lock-out system. But somebody came up and started it. And he was dragged under.”
The accident left other co-workers feeling uneasy about the ski area’s operational safety.
“They hire people at low dollar. And they don’t pay them enough. And they don’t train them enough to protect their lives,” said Tyler Harbert, who has worked at Loveland Ski Area for about three years.
John Sellers, a spokesman for Loveland Ski Area, was not able to provide any details about how the accident occurred.
He said that the entire Loveland Ski Area community was grieving the loss.
“It’s a tragedy that’s hard to put into words for everybody that’s been affected by it,” said Sellers. “We’re all a big family up here. And this has affected everybody a great deal.”
Adam, a Colorado native, had worked at Loveland Ski Area for three seasons. He worked as a liftee for his first two seasons before becoming a lift mechanic, a position that ultimately ended his life.
“His wife and kids could be struggling for the rest of their lives. They are missing their father who loved them with all his heart,” Amanda said through tears.
Loved ones set up a benefit account to help: https://www.youcaring.com/erikamackey-1054724
The Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are investigating. There was no timeline given on when the agencies would have answers as to what caused the accident to occur.
Melissa Garcia has been reporting for CBS4 News since March 2014. Find her bio here, follow her on Twitter @MelissaGarciaTV, or send your story idea to firstname.lastname@example.org.