(BIG BEAR LAKE, Calif.) — The parents of the young girl who was seen in harrowing video earlier this week dangling from a ski lift described the “absolute fear” they felt as they watched their daughter suspend from the lift.
In video captured by a fellow skier, Sara, 5, can be seen dangling from a ski lift in Big Bear Lake, California, as her ski instructor holds onto her by her hood. Below them, a crowd scrambles to set up a tarp to catch her.
Sara’s parents, Arman and Sidney, who ABC News agreed to only identify by their first names, say they were also on the slopes that day, and Sidney was riding only a few chairs ahead of her daughter in the lift when the incident occurred.
Sidney recalls that she “kept hearing commotion and yelling and screaming.”
“I turned around and I was scanning the crowd and I saw Sara dangling from the chair,” she said. “I started screaming, ‘That’s my daughter, that’s my daughter.’”
The mother added that in that moment she felt “absolute fear.”
“There she is dangling from a chair and it’s so high up and it’s … it was horrible,” she added.
Sara survived the incident sustaining only bruising, but her parents say that a first responder said their daughter became unconscious at one point, and they argue that the resort has not been forthcoming with the facts of the incident.
Sidney says she feels they “deserve to know what happened, and right now they haven’t told us.”
Big Bear Mountain Resort told ABC News in a statement that it is addressing all of the family’s requests for information surrounding the incident. The resort also lauded the quick-thinking actions of the ski instructor and said it takes “safety seriously.”
“With respect to the facts, the lift came to a complete stop within 15 seconds of leaving the terminal. The ski instructor riding the lift with Sara did a remarkable job – [Her father] has referred to her as a ‘hero.’ Guests and ski patrol were on scene immediately, and together facilitated a rescue within approximately two minutes of the beginning of the incident,” the statement reads. “We are truly sorry our response to the family’s concerns, after the incident, fell short. We will continue to communicate with the family and be of service to them. Bear Mountain takes guest safety seriously, and we are thankful Sara was not more seriously injured.”
The National Ski Areas Association says that riding a ski lift is safer than riding an elevator. To stay safe while on riding a lift, experts advise to ask an attendant for help, always remove and carry packs, and do not use your cell phone while loading or unloading.
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