By LOUISE KIRKWOOD, Associated Press UA engineer whose legs were damaged by a snow slide during a snow storm on the Arizona side of the state said he is devastated by the loss of his legs.
Michael Fassbender said the accident happened at a ski resort in Tulelake, about 35 miles southeast of Tucson, about 2:30 p.m.
He said his legs were still attached when he was transported to the hospital and his condition is not good.
“I’m just devastated,” he said.
“It’s just hard to accept it.”
Fassbender, 36, said he had gone to the resort for a family ski trip and that he was trying to avoid the slide when he fell into a snowbank.
Fassender said he was sitting on the ski slope when he felt the slide hit his left leg.
“It was a pretty hard fall,” he told the AP.
“I was just trying to get my legs under me and try to get out of there.
It happened in the blink of an eye.”
He said he spent a night in the hospital with his leg in a cast and was told he would have to have surgery.
He was told it would cost about $1 million to get the leg back.
Fassender is an engineer at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and worked for the agency for three years.
His family, including his wife, who works for the company, is also an engineer.
He has worked for UA for 18 years and has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.
“This is really the hardest I’ve ever been through,” he wrote on Facebook.
“My thoughts and prayers go out to my family and friends.
I just want to thank everyone who has given me such support.
I am very lucky to be alive.”
He wrote about his recovery and what he has learned about snow travel.
“As you know, I have always been a big fan of snow travel,” he posted.
“With my first ski trip I was about 20 feet in the air when it hit.
I was still on the side of an embankment at the time and I think it took a couple of hours to get me down.
I got up and started walking toward the lift station and it took me a while to get down.
Now I’m still at the lift in the back of the lift to take my first skier.
It’s a long ride to get back to the lift but I’m grateful to be able to do it.”
Read moreArizona state troopers said there was no evidence to support a slide or any injuries during the slide.
The U.K. ski company that runs the resort has said there is no information about the incident, and a spokeswoman for the Arizona Department of Transportation said the snow slide had nothing to do with the ski resort.
The resort has closed and is closed until further notice.