Watch: Man Saves Friend's Life After He Gets Caught in a Chairlift

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A man was able to rescue his friend after he became tangled in a ski lift thanks to his training as a slackliner, the Denver Post reports.

Mickey Wilson was riding a chairlift at Colorado’s Lenawee Mountain when he saw his friend become tangled in the chair while attempting to get off the lift. 

“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 3-feet, 4-feet below the chair. His feet were maybe only about 10 feet off the snow.” 

Wilson, a part-time ski instructor at the resort who was not working at the time, was able to get to his friend by sliding across the chairlift cable, and freed him by cutting his backpack and allowing him to drop to the snow below.

Ski patrol was alerted and workers arrived at the scene, and a worker tossed Wilson the knift he used to cut his friend down. Patrol workers skiied Wilson's friend down the mountain, and ambulances transported him to a hospital in Denver.

“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.”

Wilson later shared the moment on Instagram, writing that his group of friends was growing increasingly panicked as their initial rescue efforts turned unsuccessful.

“Panic was becoming terror as we realized we were about to watch our friend die in front of our helpless eyes,” Wilson wrote. “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.”

He credited his slacklining experience with allowing him to save his friend's life, adding that he felt "incredibly fortunate" to have been present and able to help. He added that his friend is doing well and will be released shortly. 

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

A photo posted by Mickey Wilson (@mickeywilsonslacker) on

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