Video of teen falling from ski lift goes viral
Feb 23, 2013 (Albuquerque Journal - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Video of an Albuquerque boy clinging to a ski lift before falling 45 feet at Ski Santa Fe has become a viral YouTube hit, drawing more than 2.3 million views and attracting national media attention.
Jacob Gutierrez, 17, said in an interview aired Friday on ABC's Good Morning America that he feared for his life during the minutes he hung from the ski lift.
"It was pretty terrifying," the Sandia High School student said. "I was thinking, if I fall wrong, if I land wrong on one of these rocks, I am probably going to get really hurt, or die."
Ben Abruzzo, mountain manager at Ski Santa Fe, said Gutierrez slipped out of the ski lift on Feb. 2 as he and companions on another chair were throwing snowballs at one another.
Gutierrez grabbed the arm rest and dangled for five or six minutes before losing his grip, landing on a rocky area of the mountain, Abruzzo said.
Gutierrez was airlifted by helicopter to University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque where he was treated for a collapsed lung, a skull fracture and a lacerated liver. He was released on Feb. 4, a UNMH spokeswoman said.
"He did get very lucky," Abruzzo said of Gutierrez. "It appears from the video and also by the nature of his injuries that he hit kind of a sweet spot of snow."
Gutierrez wou ld have reached the top of the ski lift if he had been able to hang on another two minutes, Abruzzo said.
A friend ahead of Gutierrez captured an 18-second video showing the teen clinging to the chair and trying to swing his legs up to get back inside. When he fell, he landed on a rocky slope, then slid a short distance downhill.
"I actually hit my head on the rock," Gutierrez told an ABC reporter, pointing to a scar on his forehead. He said he found himself stunned on his back, staring up at the ski lift.
"There was blood everywhere, and I was just in shock," he said. He said he plans to be more careful and wear a helmet while skiing.
Abruzzo said Gutierrez and a companion had placed a restraint bar in the upright position, leaving him more vulnerable to a fall.
"Really, the key way to keep yourself from falling out of a chairlift is to stay away from horseplay and enjoy the ride," Abruzzo said. Online
To see a video of Jacob Gutierrez's fall, go to ABQjournal.com
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Journal (Albuquerque, N.M.) at www.abqjournal.com Distributed by MCT Information
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