DENVER, Colorado (KRON) — A man’s unusual skill saved a friend’s life after he got stuck hanging by his neck from a ski lift in Denver, and it has another friend calling him more than a Good Samaritan–a superhero.
Skiers watched in horror seeing a man dangling from a chairlift, caught around the neck by his backpack.
“His chest strap slid up to his throat and was choking him,” friend Hans Meuller said.
Meuller and two friends tried climbing on top of each other to reach the man but kept slipping in the fresh snow.
“It was the scariest thing I’ve ever seen,” Meuller said. “It’s the most helpless I’ve ever felt. Being 2 feet away from one of my best friends, my best man, while I watched him lose consciousness.”
“I looked at the tower, I looked at the cable going down from the tower to him, and I said, ‘I can climb up that tower and I can scoot down it, and get to him, and make this rescue go faster,'” expert slackliner Mickey Wilson said.
Cameras recorded Wilson’s daring rescue, straddling one of the chairlift cables to get to his friend. Video captures Wilson trying to kick his friend out of the backpack.
When it fails, a ski patroller tosses him a knife.
He catches it on the first try and his friend falls to safety.
“I think he was just reacting but with a guy like Mickey, reacting and a plan can sometimes be the same thing,” Meuller said.
Wilson was the right man for the job, an expert slackliner, even making the rescue with a broken hand.
He didn’t celebrate until he Facetimed the victim from the hospital and knew everything would be OK.
“The first thing that went through my head was, ‘Thank god I’m a slackliner and a good slackliner,'” Wilson said.
Slacklining is a growing sport that’s similar to tightrope walking but done on a looser, flat piece of tubular webbing.
The victim was treated for broken ribs and returned home from the hospital to recover on Thursday.
Arapahoe Basin issued a statement saying, “We wish to extend our best wishes to our guest for a speedy recovery.”
It also noted, “The lift did not malfunction and is currently running and open to the public.”