Video: Man Tightropes Chairlift to Rescue Friend

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A man at a Colorado ski resort slid across 30 feet of chairlift cable in order to save his friend who was hanging unconscious from one of the lifts. The heroic rescue by professional slack liner Mickey Wilson can be seen in the video below.

The incident took place Wednesday morning at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area in Keystone, Colorado. It started when Wilson’s friend, whose name has not been made public, got his backpack tangled up with the chairlift while he was trying to depart.

The man was unconscious and remained dangling from the lift until the operator noticed and stopped the ride. Wilson, a part-time ski instructor at the resort, was in the chair behind the man and realized soon after departing what was happening.

“He was not only caught, he was literally being hung by his neck by his backpack. He was hanging 3-feet, 4-feet below the chair. His feet were maybe only about 10 feet off the snow,” Wilson explains.

Several people nearby tried forming a pyramid to reach the man, but it soon came falling down amidst the snowy conditions. That’s when Wilson realized he would have to traverse the chairlift cable in order to reach the man.

It took Wilson about five minutes to climb the ski lift tower and slide on the cable over to the chairlift. A rescue worker then threw him a knife so he could cut the man loose. The man then fell about 10 feet, as seen in the video above.

The man was taken to a nearby hospital via ambulance. The ski resort declined to give an update on his medical status, but Wilson said he spoke to the man via FaceTime Wednesday night and says the man is fine, although he is wearing a neck brace.

“It was one of the most scary things I’ve ever seen, honestly,” Wilson said, recalling the moment he sprung into action to save the man. “Just seeing a person get the life sucked out of them. I kind of stopped thinking and just started acting.”

You can read Wilson’s complete, first-hand account of the incident on his Instagram page.