Finally, some uplifting avalanche news!
On February 3rd, Jesse Dahlberg, a 32-year-old man from Golden, B.C., was safely watching crews perform avalanche control on Mount Dennis, B.C., for a railroad and highway below. While watching, Dahlberg spotted an elk in a likely slide path about five minutes before the avalanche.
In a CBC interview, Dahlberg said, “I didn’t know how big the avalanche was going to be so I was hoping for the best, and when I saw it … I thought there’s no way that elk is going to survive.”
The video below shows the avalanche that partially buried the elk. WARNING – Lots of swearing.
After witnessing the avalanche, Dahlberg and his friend realized there was no way the elk could survive that size of an avalanche. They bolted into action and found a trail towards the debris. To their surprise, Dahlberg spotted the brown head and its nostrils in the debris field.
“I could tell it was alive, it was looking at me, I could see its nose moving,” remarked Dahlberg. “It couldn’t move, it was in that snow like concrete. It was alive and I wanted to save it.”
Dahlberg sent his friend to grab a shovel and began to dig with his hands. The pair dug the elk out, and within 15 minutes, they were able to get its hind legs out and give it a push to freedom. The elk took a few steps, stared at them, and both parties went their separate ways.
Dahlberg was concerned about the trauma the elk may have encountered in the avalanche. Luckily the elk sustained no injuries and was just shaken up from the event. The man was ecstatic about saving the elk and said:
“I put my arms up and started cheering because I was so excited that it was alive. The whole time I didn’t know if its back was broken or its legs were broken, I was so happy.”