Courageous friend rescues dangling skier off A-Basin lift

Jan 08, 2017, 00:30
Courageous friend rescues dangling skier off A-Basin lift

According to the Denver Post, an unconscious man was dangling from his backpack on a lift at Arapahoe Basin in Colorado on Wednesday, and his incredible slackliner friend saved him.

Thousands of Facebook video views, amplified by national television news, metro and local dailies' coverages, tell of Mickey's lifesaving efforts on the Lenawee Lift in which his friend had become entangled, being literally strangled unconscious by his own backpack strap.

Wilson harrowingly reached the man in four to five minutes, and tried unsuccessfully to break the strap by kicking it. Ski patrol members arrived with a ladder, but chose to toss Wilson a knife, so he could cut the man free. "At first we didn't know what to think of that and then we started to hear screams and yells".

As he thought he was going to have to watch his friend die, Wilson says he "had a eureka moment".

Hans Mueller told KCNC, "It's the scariest thing I've ever seen".

"The only way I was able to get to him so fast was to climb the tower and shimmy down the line to him so fast", he told the Post.

Since 1965, the Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board, which is managed by the state's Department of Regulatory Agencies, has been in place to annually register and inspect ski resort lifts.

He fell about 10 feet to the snow below and was only briefly hospitalized. Eight or so ski patrolmen then began CPR.

Wilson told the Denver Post that it seemed there was nothing that the ski area could have done to prevent the incident, and congratulated staff for "an unbelievable job of responding" to the situation.

The friend was rushed to the hospital where he was treated, and expected to be released Thursday.

Wilson, a part-time A-Basin ski instructor, says he was on a chair behind the man.

"Our other friend had to ride up front because there wasn't enough space for him on our chair and when we got off the chair he wasn't there", Wilson, who competes professionally as a slackliner around the world, said today on "Good Morning America".

Wilson's friend was wearing a backpack. He managed to reach the lift chair and cut his friend free.

According to the Denver Post's Jesse Paul, the man's backpack got twisted in the chair at the Colorado ski area. "I knew my slackline experience prepared me perfectly for this so I burst into action". It was second nature, just like being on a slackline, only way colder and made of steel.

A similar incident happened Monday at a resort south of Salt Lake City, when a boy was stuck, dangling from a ski lift by his backpack, the Associated Press reported. The lift reopened Wednesday, and was open to the public on Thursday. Two girls, who were the woman's daughters, were also hurt after tumbling off the lift.

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