By Jessica Kartalija

TANNERSVILLE, Pa. (CBS) — Tragedy at a popular ski resort in the Poconos. A man and his two children plunged several feet from the chairlift.

Eyewitness News spoke with a man who witnessed the whole thing just moments after he let that family go ahead of him in line.

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It was a picture-perfect day on the slopes. Fifty-four-year-old Doug Mackie was celebrating his birthday, skiing at Camelback with his son when the chairlift he was on suddenly stopped.

“Our car starts going like that [swinging] and Nick and I are holding on to anything to just not fall,” Mackie said.

It happened around 4 p.m. Sunday on Camelback’s high-speed Sullivan lift. Mackie was able to hang on, but just two chairs ahead, “Theirs shook so bad, it went up like this, came down, went up again. There was a noise, a pop. And then it was off,” Mackie said.

The man and his two children fell about 15 feet to the ground below.

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“The father was grabbing at his kids to save their lives. That struck me hard. Still bothers me,” Mackie said. “They landed hard, I remember the sound. Then there was just screaming, man, lots of screaming.”

Mackie says Camelback ski patrol quickly arrived to help. The lift remains closed as officials from the ski resort say they are working with state authorities to investigate how this happened.

“It’s definitely something I don’t want to live again,” Mackie said.

Camelback Mountain issued the following statement on Facebook, “We are devastated by the weekend’s events on the Sullivan Lift and our hearts go out to the family involved. We thank you for your patience as we continue to conduct a thorough investigation. In the meantime, Sullivan Lift remains closed.”

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The family was taken to the hospital. Their names and conditions have not been released.

Jessica Kartalija