'Holy smokes': Teens describe saving child dangling from Grouse chairlift
Published Thursday, February 28, 2019 12:37PM PST Last Updated Thursday, February 28, 2019 6:07PM PST
Strangers raced to save an eight-year-old boy who was left dangling metres off the ground after he slipped off a chairlift on Grouse Mountain.
The child was on the Screaming Eagle chairlift at around 3:45 p.m. Wednesday, and within seconds was over the edge. An adult was holding onto him, desperately trying to keep the boy from falling.
CTV News spoke to two teenagers involved in the rescue - Ethan Harvey and Gabriel Neilson - who said they'd noticed the boy flailing around and screaming for help.
"They pointed to the lift and I saw the kid dangling and I was like, 'Holy Smokes,'" Harvey said.
"At one point, it was just one arm that he was hanging on by," Neilson said.
Immediately, they came up with an action plan, deciding to use a piece of plastic fencing as a safety net.
"One of our friends told another man to go and grab (the fence) while he grabbed some padding that was around a nearby pole, put that on the 'net,' then we yelled up to the child to take his skis off," the boys said.
"About 30 seconds later he dropped, and that's basically it."
On the ground, they held tight to the makeshift net to make sure it didn't slip out of their hands. They said they knew the fencing would be sturdy enough because "it's meant for people to run into it."
Harvey and Neilson said they don't know how they'd react in a similar situation, but that it was "quite lucky" no one was seriously injured.
"I think it was just a lot of instinct and kind of hoping that things would turn out well," Harvey said.
No surprise -- the boys' parents are beaming.
"I was already proud of him, but it’s a little extra," said Chris Harvey, Ethan’s dad. "They see something, they just go and get it done. I think we should all be a little more mindful of those kinds of things."
The child was taken to hospital as a precaution, but appeared to be physically unharmed.
Officials at Grouse Mountain are crediting the Good Samaritans on the ground for saving the boy's life.
“Their quick thinking and immediate actions are commendable,” says Grouse spokesperson Julia Grant.
The mountain has also launched an investigation.
“We will be taking appropriate action based on the results of the investigation,” Grant said.
The resort’s president, Micheal Cameron, plans to meet with the heroes, and will give them complimentary season passes for their efforts.