BEAVER CREEK - An incredible chance encounter helped save a teen's life at a Colorado ski area last month.
David Voysey and his sons, Charlie, 16, and Bobby, 14, were on a ski trip at Beaver Creek in March.
On one of their first runs of the vacation, Charlie says he collided with a snowboarder. During his fall, Charlie thinks the sharp edge of his ski cut his arm.
At first, he didn't think it was too bad.
“I thought I had just got a small cut, or wasn't hurt at all,” Charlie told 9NEWS during a Skype interview.
His dad was skiing behind him and says he saw Charlie ski over a ridge. By the time he caught up, he says he knew something was wrong.
“By the time I got over the ridge, I saw his green helmet and a bunch of people around him,” David said.
David said he also didn't immediately know just how bad the injury was, but he saw a lot blood so knew they had to get Charlie medical attention fast.
“I just knew we needed help,” David said.
And, miraculously, help came.
“I can hear it to this day. He skied by and he said ‘I’m an ER doctor can I help?’" David explained.
Dr. Heston LaMar, an emergency room doctor who works at Wake Forest in North Carolina also happened to be at Beaver Creek that day and came across the crash.
“He whipped off his backpack and emptied it out. He had scissors, those funky, weird scissors that they use, and cut stuff open. And he pulled out gauze. He had it all wrapped up within a couple of minutes,” David said.
David explained that Dr. LaMar "is just one of those people" who always likes to be prepared. He said he has been carrying the backpack with medical supplies around for years, just in case.
It was after Dr. LaMar cut off Charlie's glove and opened up his coat that they got a better idea of the extent of the injury.
“Once we kind of released it, every heartbeat it shot blood into the air,” David remembered.
He said that that is when they knew Charlie had likely cut an artery.
Charlie was taken off the mountain by ski patrol and rushed to Vail Health Hospital where he underwent five hours of surgery.
In total, Charlie cut two arteries, all of the tendons and all of the nerves in his forearm.
The surgeon was able to save Charlie's hand and he's now working to regain both movement and feeling in that arm.
“I’m good. I’m doing better,” Charlie said, while showing off his scar and how much he's already able to move his fingers.
The accident has not slowed Charlie down. When asked if he's at all afraid to go skiing again, he simply answered "no" and laughed.
Since the incident, David has spoken on the phone with Dr. LaMar a few times thanks to someone who reached out to David to put them in touch. He said he was happy to get the chance to thank him.
“Everybody involved was so wonderful. I owe thank yous to so many people,” David said.
He said his hope is to get everyone involved together - the snowboarder who Charlie collided with, Dr. LaMar, the person who put them in touch - so they can all talk about what happened.
“I hope that a year from now we are all going to get together and ski a run,” David said.