Coroner Rules Man Who Died of Positional Asphyxia at Vail Resort, CO DID NOT Fall Through Chair

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Map showing the location of Chair 37 at Vail, CO.

Eagle County Coroner Kara Bettis, who is investigating the Vail chairlift death of Jason Varnish, 46, on Feb. 13 has clarified that contrary to initial reports, he did not fall through the chair.

Varnish did die of positional asphyxia, as originally reported when his clothing got caught and entangled on the chairlift. He was unable to breathe due to his coat and tight clothing around his chest and abdominal region report Vail Daily. The death has been ruled accidental.

At least one witness has reported seeing that the chairlift seat was up when Varnish and one other attempted to load Chair 37 in Vail’s Blue Sky Basin, according to the release. Positional asphyxia remains the cause of Varnish’s death, Bettis said.

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