ABC News’ Gio Benitez reports:
A New Mexico teenager who fell nearly four stories off a mountain ski lift says he held on for dear life and thought he was going to die.
“It was pretty terrifying,” Jacob Gutierrez, 17, told “Good Morning America.” “I was thinking, if I fall wrong, I’m probably going to get really hurt or die.”
Gutierrez, of Albuquerque, was riding the Millennium Triple Chairlift at the Ski Santa Fe resort Feb. 2 when he tried to throw a snowball at a friend in front of him. As he threw, Gutierrez lost his balance and slipped out of the chair.
He immediately grabbed the chair’s armrest but eventually lost his grip, falling 45 feet as his stunned friends watched.
“I remember just falling,” Gutierrez said. “It felt really far and I hit the rock and the next thing I know I’m looking up at the ski lift.”
Gutierrez’s friend, Dallas Meiring, 17, captured the last 18 seconds of Gutierrez’s fall on a GoPro helmet camera he was wearing. Meiring posted the video to YouTube this week and it has now been viewed more than 1.5 million times.
“It was pretty scary,” Meiring said. “I thought he might have died.”
Gutierrez was taken by helicopter to a hospital in Albuquerque where he spent three days in the intensive care unit, according to The New Mexican.
He suffered tears in both his lungs, a lacerated liver and a hairline skull fracture, as well as a cut in his forehead that required stitches.
“I actually hit my head on the rock,” Gutierrez said. “There was just blood everywhere and I was in shock.”