A man who was hanging unconscious from a chairlift at a Colorado ski area was cut down by a professional slackliner who climbed a lift tower, slid 30 feet along the lift’s cable and cut the man free with a knife.
The harrowing rescue was recounted to The Denver Post on Thursday by rescuer Mickey Wilson and confirmed by Arapahoe Basin resort. Parts of the rescue were also captured on video and in still photos.
“It was one of the most scary things I’ve ever seen, honestly,” Wilson said. “Just seeing a person get the life sucked out of them. I kind of stopped thinking and just started acting.”So, what are the odds you've got a guy on the scene who thinks "Yeah, I can do that" and then does it?
However, Wilson said he spoke to the man through FaceTime on Wednesday night and said that despite a neck brace he appeared to be OK.
The resort says the man was trying to leave the three-person lift when his backpack became entangled in the chair. Still dangling from the chair, he was swept around the bullwheel at the top of the lift, at which point the operator shut down the lift.
Wilson, 28, a part-time ski instructor at Arapahoe Basin, says he was on a chair behind the man. About 30 seconds after he unloaded, he realized what was happening to the man, whom he described as a friend of a friend.
“As he tried to get off, his backpack caught, and because he was on the outside of the chairlift, he went around the emergency chairlift shutoff (trigger),” Wilson said. “He was not only caught, he was literally being hung by his neck by his backpack. He was hanging three feet, four feet below the chair. His feet were maybe only about 10 feet off the snow.”
Wilson said he and a few bystanders first tried to create a human pyramid to reach the man, but the group kept tumbling down.
“That’s when I realized — it all kind of snapped together — that ‘I can climb this tower and get to him,’ ” said Wilson. He has competed professionally as a slackliner and has won Red Bull events....MORE