Castleton athletes hailed as heroes for saving ski racer

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CASTLETON, Vt. (WCAX) "I didn't really fully realize what had happened until I started to see the red on the snow," Victor Wiacek said.

Wiacek has been a ski racer most of his life. The freshman at Babson College, just outside of Boston, had a race at West Mountain in Queensbury, New York, about two weeks ago.

"It was like any other normal race day really," Linn Ljungemo said.

Best friends Linn Ljungemo and Kylie Mackie of the Castleton Ski Team were also racing that day. Mackie and Wiacek have been friends since they were kids. The two Castleton athletes, Ljungemo and Mackie, were helping out at a race gate when Wiacek was up for his run.

"Then Victor came down and he kind of just fell and it looked like nothing," Mackie said.

"I didn't feel any pain," Wiacek said. "I guess my skis must've been so sharp like a razor just went right through it."

Wiacek says he hit the smallest imperfection in the snow and his ski cut a massive gash in his leg.

"My fingers are starting to feel tingly, guys, my vision's going black," Wiacek recalled.

"I just heard tourniquet, so I run up the hill and rip off my jacket, and I tied it around his leg as tight as I possibly could," Mackie said.

"I've got to say, she pulled it so tight, it was definitely the most painful part of the entire process," Wiacek said.

Ljungemo used first aid training she learned to help hold Wiacek's head up. She was staying focused but Wiacek wanted to break the mood for himself and others around him.

"I just started trying to crack jokes and lift the spirits of people around me because I saw the terror in their eyes," he said.

While thinking to himself how he wanted to be remembered, Wiacek says he could feel the blood gushing from his leg every time his heart beat.

"I think it was just running through everyone's mind if he's going to make it," Ljungemo said.

Wiacek says he is very lucky and very grateful to have had exactly the right people around him.

"His dad had called me that night and he told us the doctor said if we didn't jump on it immediately, his son probably wouldn't be here today," Mackie said.

Wiacek says he can hobble a little bit with the help of crutches but cannot bend his leg. He's looking forward to returning to school and getting his life somewhat back to normal.