We need more people like Ammar in Lebanon.
I am a proud mother of 3. I am a wife, a daughter, a sister. I am a sports addict and I do my best to pass my passion for sports onto my children.
Today, I am a mother who is in shock after what happened to her son on the slopes of Faraya Mzaar. Today, I am a citizen calling for change. Adel is my eldest child, he is 9 years old and has been skiing for 5 years. Like all other parents, we take every single detail in consideration when sending our kids to ski.
Adel wears a helmet to protect himself, he wears 4 layers of clothes to protect him from the wind and cold; but most of all, Adel only skis with my husband & I, or with the official ski school of Faraya Mzaar.
If anything were to happen to him, it would be because he didn’t ski well, or because, God forbid, someone bumped into him on the slopes. At least, this is what we thought.
On Saturday January 26th 2013, Adel was involved in a life-threatening incident that left all the onlookers frozen in shock, and left him traumatized by his ordeal. Adel was on the “Refuge” slope ski lift, on his own. For starters, in no case and under no circumstances should a 9-year old child be ever allowed to ride a ski lift on his own.
As any skier would do, Adel had lowered the safety bar and was waiting to reach the top of the “Refuge” terminal to catch up with the rest of his skiing group – some were in the lifts in front of him, and others (including his instructor) were behind him.
Upon reaching the “Refuge” terminal, Adel was unable to lift the safety bar – the wind was blowing in gusts and was resisting his efforts. He started screaming in panic, hoping the lift controller notices him and stops the ski lift. To Adel’s bad luck, the controller did not stop the ski lift; he either did not pay attention to him!! Or decided to ignore the distress screams and assumed the screaming child would eventually manage to raise the bar.
Right as he arrived to the terminal, Adel eventually pulled the bar upwards…but a strong wind gust slammed the bar violently and made Adel loose his balance and fall off the lift. His 4 layers of clothes got tangled on the foot bar and he was now being dragged along with the lift upwards screaming towards the “Mzaar” slopes..and still, the lifts were going full speed. People were shouting, Adel was screaming… until the ski lift suddenly stopped.
If you’re familiar with this part of the slopes, you probably figured out where Adel was exactly. If you’re not, I will just describe the nightmare in one sentence:
“Adel was now hanging by the tip of his clothes with one of his hands holding on for life and below him was a drop of at least 12 meters”.
The lifts do not reverse; they could not bring him back. The only way was either forwards or downwards.
A helpful man who spotted him (and who we are very grateful to) kept talking to Adel, calming him down guiding him to unmount his skis and throw his poles while he was dangling. Adel, was now effectively hanging for his life.
At this stage, no safety procedures, no emergency response. No rescuers or Red Cross were in sight, and certainly no initiative being taken by anyone employed by Faraya Mzaar.
My son was hanging in mid-air, with 25km/hr winds gusting and with no one equipped enough to save him, no net or anything to ensure a soft landing; but many onlookers standing there in shock and the friendly man who stood helplessly underneath Adel.
In sight of all this, the man beneath asked Adel to try and untangle himself and let go, promising to catch him but Adel wasn’t letting go.
Some minutes later, the drama took another twist when a hero made an appearance to save our son.
One of Faraya Mzaar’s controllers (on his 3rd day on the job) working in the nearby button-lift (tire-fesses) took initiative. He stopped his station and ran across to the ski lifts.
This man, Ammar, reached the nearest pole to Adel’s lift and climbed-up. He then used his bare hands to dangle his body from the cable and made his way across 10 meters to reach Adel’s chair. He pulled Adel back up onto the chair and back to safety.This man saved our son and if it weren’t for him, we cannot imagine what could have happened if he hadn’t. [Link]