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Ski lift rescue

Discussion in 'Accidents and Near Misses' started by hank moon, Jan 6, 2017.

  1. hank moon

    hank moon lovely ligatures

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    Amazing rescue story, by Mickey Wilson. Not exactly canyoneering related, but too good not to share.

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10154347059191902&set=p.10154347059191902&type=3&permPage=1

    Today I saved someone's life. I think some strange forces were at work. I planned to ski by myself today. As fate had it though, some good friends ended up recognizing me despite my ski gear, and we joined forces for an epic pow day. Again, fate intervened. One of our crew got his backpack strap stuck in the chairlift as he tried to unload and the lift dragged him back down the hill. We were on the chair lift behind so we unloaded and ran down the hill to help him when we realized the worst possible thing had happened. The backpack had wrapped around his neck and he was unconscious, dangling 10 feet above the snow. Panic set in and we struggled in vain for about a minute to build a human pyramid to get to him but the powder was too deep and we toppled over. I yelled at the lift operator asking if the lift ran in reverse and he cried no. Ski patrol was on their way but not there yet. Panic was becoming terror as we realized we were about to watch our friend die in front of our helpless eyes. Then I had a eureka moment. I realized I could climb the lift tower above the chair and climb onto the cable and shimmy down to him. I knew my slackline experience prepared me perfectly for this so I burst into action. I climbed the tower and slid down to the the chair. It was second nature, just like being on a slackline only way colder and made of steel. I climbed down the chair and I first tried to break the strap by kicking it but I couldn't. A newly arrived ski patrolman threw me a knife and I luckily caught it on the first try and cut the strap. Our friend fell like a doll into the snow. 8 or so ski patrolman then began CPR. Thankfully they were able to restore his breathing, ski him down to the base, and get him into an ambulance which rushed him to the hospital in Denver. I'd like to take this moment now to thank the #slacklife for the skills it has given me. It was incredibly fortunate I was there and able to act quickly. I'd also like to thank ski patrol for their strong work reviving our friend. I just got an update from the hospital and he's doing quite well and will be released tomorrow! #thankful #lovelife #rightplacerighttime

    mwilson_rescue.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2017
  2. Kuenn

    Kuenn

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    Great story, Hank!

    Just another of the many reasons to tote a knife...but not through the airport. TSA has quite a collection from the habitually inattentive, self included.
    Ram and Rapterman like this.
  3. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    Sometimes being a slacker pays off...

    Ha ha. Gotta like a happy ending.

    Been several of those backpack issues here in Utah lately. Don't unbuckle the pack or, if you do, slide it off your shoulders? Or, buckle the waist belt?

    I ski with a pack quite often, and, have ridden many a lift with one. Scary scenario!
    Rapterman likes this.
  4. John Styrnol

    John Styrnol

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    Grand Junction, Colorado
    This was on the news last night. Awesome Job!
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