Meet the boys who rescued that kid hanging off a Grouse Mountain chairlift

CBC Kids News • Published 2019-03-05 12:23

When five boys from Vancouver went out to Grouse Mountain for a day of skiing last week, they never expected to become internet sensations.

But that’s just what happened to the group on Wednesday afternoon, when they helped save a boy who was dangling from the chairlift.

The incident was caught on video and has been shared thousands of times, turning the five kids into celebrities overnight.

Even the premier of B.C., John Horgan, applauded their efforts.

Here’s what happened

The kids, who are all home-schooled, got together again for a Skype interview with CBC Kids News to tell the story about what happened.

Joshua Ravensbergen, Gabriel Neilson, James MacDonald, Ethan Harvey and Sam North were on their way down the hill when they looked up and saw the boy, who was being held up by his dad.

From left to right, Joshua Ravensbergen, 12, Gabriel Neilson, 13, James MacDonald, 14, Ethan Harvey, 13, and Sam North, 13 became heroes overnight. (Submitted by Chris Harvey)

“Everyone was sort of just standing around looking up at this poor kid,” said MacDonald. “I said to the lady next to me, he's not going to be able to hold on for much longer, because he was struggling.”

The boys looked around for material on the hill they could use to catch the boy.

Their quick thinking paid off.

MacDonald said he sent someone to get some out-of-bounds netting, and he and Ravensbergen found a yellow mat to use as padding.

The mat had been wrapped around a pole to prevent injury if someone skis into it.

They put the mat on the netting to “cushion the impact,” said MacDonald.

Three people stand in the snow holding a plastic fence flat.

The five boys from Vancouver worked with other adults on the hill to help rescue the boy. They found an orange net and pulled it taut. (Carolina Prada Akoglu/Caters)

Neilson showed up next and tried to calm the boy down.

“And then at one point, I told him to take his skis off,” said Neilson. “So that he could fall without them on.”

Neilson thinks the boy could have hurt himself had he kept his skis on.

Eventually, the man holding onto the boy let him go, and he landed with a gentle bounce on the netting below.

The boys aren’t sure why he wasn’t sitting on the chairlift safely.

“What we think is that he didn't get on properly,” said Ravensbergen.

The person running the chairlift — the lifty — couldn’t hear the boy screaming because of the music.

Once he landed, the boy looked stunned, said Ravensbergen.

A few minutes later the ski patrol showed up and took over.

A crowd of 12 people sand in the snow, looking at a person lying on an orange net.

The boys say teamwork and good communication helped them in their endeavour to rescue the dangling skier. (Carolina Prada Akoglu/Caters)

A spokesperson for Grouse Mountain Resorts said in a statement that the boy was uninjured in the fall

He was taken to hospital as a precaution.

As a way to say thanks, the boys were given season passes to the mountain for next season, or cash if they already have a pass.

Being called heroes

They have been getting a lot of attention, which is not something they anticipated when they sprang into action to help.

“I got in the car the other day with my dad and then we turned on the radio and they're talking about it,” said Harvey. “I don't think I realized how many people have seen it and how big it is. It's pretty insane.”

And they also learned a few valuable lessons.

“Teamwork,” said Neilson, “and staying calm.”

“Communication,” said MacDonald. “Telling everyone the plan and pursuing it.”

“Put the bar down,” added Harvey, referring to the security bar on the chairlift.

Check out some of the reaction on Twitter

With files from The Canadian Press.

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