A hiker miraculously survived being buried by an avalanche Saturday near Flattop, AK according to the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center. Another hiker, who just happened to be passing, saw two legs sticking out of the snow at around and was able to dig the victim out within 5 minutes. The victim was hypothermic but conscious.
“Honestly at first I thought it was a kid playing around in the snow, didn’t think much of it,” the vigilant rescuer told KTUU. “It wasn’t just adding up, so I went up, and sure enough, there was a guy buried in the snow with his legs sticking up. So he was on his back, face-up, but obviously head down into the snow.”
The center says the debris from the avalanche was made up of large chunks, leaving air pockets and space for the person to breathe. The victim’s head was buried 2-3 feet below the surface. The rescuer and the victim were able to walk back to the parking lot where medics from the Anchorage Fire Department met them.
“We are so very happy for this positive outcome and that the rescuer was there, observant and had the avalanche training to keep calm and know what to do,” the center wrote.
The rescuer, who says he’s taken an avalanche awareness course, hopes this story will inspire others to do the same, claiming his training is what alerted him to something amiss.
“They teach you a lot. That’s why I was scanning the avalanche debris that I saw that just happened recently,” he said of his avalanche awareness training. “Obviously it doesn’t happen in 99.9 percent of them, but just like yesterday, you might pull that ticket.”