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SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - A teenager who fell 45 feet from a New Mexico ski lift says he was falling straight toward a big rock and was sure he would die.

Seventeen-year-old Jacob Gutierrez, of Albuquerque, told the Santa Fe New Mexican ( http://bit.ly/ZwYveV) he was throwing a snowball at a friend in the chair in front of him when he slipped off.

He caught himself on the armrest, ditched his snowboard and tried to hang on. Gutierrez says he could see the lift shack at the end before he fell but ran out of strength.

Gutierrez injured his liver and lungs, had a hairline skull fracture and a gash on his forehead. He spent three days in intensive care.

A YouTube video of the Feb. 2 fall at Ski Santa Fe has gone viral.


(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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