A skier almost died on Wednesday, January 4th, after a failed attempt to unload from a three-person Lenawee Mountain Lift. one of his backpack straps got caught in the chairlift and he was left hanging by his neck, approximately 10 to 15 feet above ground, according to the witnesses.
Fortunately, he was saved by another skier who was one chair behind. After spending the night in the hospital, the man was discharged and is now out of any danger.
According to several people who were either on the ground or riding the same lift as the victim, the skier tried to unload but found himself hanging from the chair after one of his backpack’s straps got stuck. The operator shut down the lift, but the man was already unconscious. Fortunately, another skier, Mickey Wilson, who was riding one chair behind saw the whole thing and attempted to rescue the victim.
After a first failed attempt, the rescuer was able to reach the man in distress by climbing up a nearby tower.
“The only way I was able to get to him so fast was to climb the tower and shimmy down the line”, said the rescuer.
Six other ski patrollers arrived at the scene shortly afterward and provided Mickey Wilson with a knife to successfully free the man, as kicking the strap clear of the chair was not working.
Another high-profile incident occurred only one week before when a family was suddenly ejected from the chairlift. On December 29th, two young girls together with their mother fell roughly 25 feet from a chair in neighboring Grand County at Granby Ranch. The mother died from her injuries, while her daughters aged 9 and 12 were rushed to the hospital in critical condition. The girls were admitted to different hospitals. The 12-year-old girl was discharged after a short while from Middle Park Medical Center in Granby. However, Children’s Hospital in Aurora did not make the 9-year-old girls’ medical records public, at the family’s request.
A spokesman for Colorado Ski, Chris Linsmayer, told reporters that these incidents are extremely rare. The last chairlift incident to involve fatalities occurred in 2002. However, since then approximately 2 billion chairlift rides were successfully completed.
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