As Tristan Stead was preparing to load onto a chairlift at Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia, he accidentally dropped his ski pole and, figuring the chair was still pretty far away, he went to grab it.
Unfortunately, the approaching chair on the Peak Express came quicker than he anticipated, hitting him in the rear while scooping up the other occupants.
"My uncle Rufus grabbed me, and then it [the chair] just went up," Stead, an 11-year-old from Seattle, explained to KOMO News.
Stead's aunt and uncle began yelling immediately for the chairlift operator to shut down the lift. He did so and immediately grabbed a fireman's net, recruited six bystanders and went to the boy's aid.
"It was scary," Christopher Sakai, a 30-year-old visiting from California, told ABC News. "The people on the chair were holding on to his clothes, but they didn't have a good hold on him."
Sakai, who captured video of the rescue on his cellphone, told KOMO News the boy was slipping through his clothes. Here’s his video:
Before the rescuers arrived, Stead managed to remove his skis and then hung 20 feet above the ground for nearly six minutes as his rescuers got into position.
Then, after a count of three, Stead let go and landed safely in the net. He was uninjured.
"The 'firemen's net rescue' is an emergency procedure that every lift operator at Whistler Blackcomb is trained in and has practiced in a controlled environment," the ski resort told ABC News. "The chair's safety bar was not yet lowered at the time the accident occurred."
Sakai told ABC News that Stead "looked calm" and "was smiling" afterward.
"It all happened so fast, and it was just great that he came out OK," Sakai told KOMO News.
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