Pictures from CBS
Professional Slackliner Earns Carnegie Hero Medal For Ski Slope Rescue
BY: Michelle Liew
The difficulty that comes with saving lives is the danger one may have to go through to do so. The Carnegie Medal is awarded to civilians who put their lives in danger in attempt to save another.
Mickey Wilson was recently announced as the winner among other heroes, despite his rescue taking place 6 years ago.
In 2017, up on the Colorado ski slopes, a man was suspended from a chairlift by the strap of his backpack coiled around his neck. Nearby, professional slackliner and ski instructor Mickey Wilson knew that there was no one better trained to affect a rescue than himself.
Slacklining is an activity similar to tightrope walking in which people practice balance, nerve, and coordination by walking and doing tricks on a single line of nylon strapping that has a lot of bounce.
Professional slackliners will fasten their strap over bodies of water or canyons, with hundreds of feet of empty space below them.
Despite his broken hand, Wilson made full use of his skill and climbed up one of the lift towers, slowly walking 30 feet across the cable to the adjacent chairlift where the man, Richard Rattenbury was stuck.
Choked out of his consciousness, Rattenbury struggled to keep himself alive as below him, Hans Meuller and another friend of his had tried standing on each other’s shoulders to reach Rattenbury but to no avail.
“It’s the scariest thing I’ve ever seen—the most helpless I’ve ever felt—being two feet away from one of my best friends—my best man—[and] watch him lose consciousness,” Meuller stated as quoted from CBS.
“I can climb up that tower. The first thing that went through my hand was ‘thank God I’m a slackliner and a good slackliner,” said Wilson with confidence.
Upon reaching Rattenbury, the ski patrol tossed him a knife to cut the man free, who was rushed to the hospital and made a full recovery.
And that was how Mickey Wilson earned his Carnegie Hero Medal, thanks to his unique hobby.