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Wind topples judges stand at NorAm event, injures six

December 17, 1996

DEER VALLEY, Utah (AP) _ Six judges at the NorAm freestyle ski competition were injured Monday when a micro-burst of wind toppled their 12-foot-high stand.

Coleen Reardon, director of communications for the Deer Valley ski resort, said the stand was located on scaffolding 12 feet above the Big Stick ski run. It slid another four feet down the slope when the wind knocked it over.

Only the people on the stand were injured and they were all judges, Reardon said.

``The race was just a few minutes from starting″ when the wind hit the stand about 10:05 a.m., she said.

Three people were transported to a clinic in nearby Park City by ambulance, while three men were taken to the University of Utah Health Sciences Center by medical helicopter.

Hospital spokeswoman Anne Brillinger said all three men were listed in serious condition Monday afternoon. Maurice McKay, 40, Stillwater, Minn., had a fractured leg and a dislocated shoulder, a 35-year-old man was being treated for pelvic and possible internal injuries and a 47-year-old had broken ribs. Their names were not immediately released.

One of the people taken to the clinic, Greta O’Brien, 38, of Sandy, had a hip fracture and was later transported by ambulance to the Health Sciences Center in Salt Lake City. She also was in serious condition, Brillinger said.

One woman, who was not identified, was treated and released for minor injuries at the Park City Family Health Center.

The sixth person also was taken to the health center and later transported to Salt Lake Regional Medical Center in Salt Lake City. That man had a hip fracture and was scheduled to undergo surgery on Tuesday, said a hospital spokesman Stephen Schultz.

Reardon said Monday’s NorAm events were immediately canceled. About 150 competitors from across the world are participating.

Freestyle skiing includes such events as moguls _ racing over very bumpy terrain, ballet and aerial competitions. The moguls competition was scheduled for Monday morning.

Deer Valley is located near Park City, about 40 miles east of Salt Lake City. A snowstorm was moving through the area Monday afternoon.

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