Officials with the Seattle-based Mountaineers Club still are trying to piece together how a 13-year-old Issaquah, Wash., boy became tangled in a rope tow Friday, leading to his death.
Jeremy Lee Messina-Hale, whose neck was broken, was pronounced dead Saturday afternoon at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
Jeremy was using one of three rope tows at the Mountaineers’ Snoqualmie Ski Lodge to pull him up the slopes when his jacket got caught in the rope and he was lifted into the air, according to Virginia Felton, executive director of the Mountaineers.
“He went through the safety gate and the tow stopped,” Felton said. The boy was left hanging in the air.
The King County medical examiner’s office said Monday the boy died when his jacket tightened to become a noose. “It was a freaky accident,” investigator Nick Fletcher said.
He said an autopsy found that the boy died when oxygen to the brain was cut off.
The boy’s jacket had become tangled in the tow at the Mountaineer’s club lodge, on Snoqualmie Pass east of Seattle, and he ended up hanging suspended from the rope for some time before ski patrol rescuers from Ski Acres could get to him.
Greg Poehlein, ski-patrol director at Ski Acres, said he and other patrol members responded to a call for help at 5 p.m. from the Mountaineers’ club facility.
Poehlein said he didn’t know how long the boy had been hanging there. “There was no way anyone (at the club) could get to him, since the tow was turned off,” he said.
Ski patrollers, who had to ski over from the Ski Acres lift, arrived at the scene seven minutes after the call.
After freeing the youth from the rope, patrollers began cardiopulmonary resuscitation when they determined he had no pulse and was not breathing, Poehlein said.
Rescuers took the boy by sled to Snoqualmie Summit, performing CPR along the way. Three doctors who were skiing in the area also tried to help.
Medics were able to regain a pulse, but Jeremy still was not breathing when he was airlifted to Seattle.
He was skiing with his brother and father, Steve Ricker, who is on the volunteer committee that runs the lodge.
The following fields overflowed: BYLINE = Putsata Reang The Seattle Times The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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