A terrifying helmet-cam video shows a skier being swept away by a backcountry avalanche, then screaming for help beneath the snow as friends dig him out near Park City, Utah.
The accident took place Saturday near Guardsman Pass, reported the Utah Avalanche Center, which posted the skier’s video on YouTube. The skier did not wish to be named.
The video shows the skier jump off a short drop, then fall and tumble as his landing triggers a small avalanche, which carries him about 200 feet downslope as trees and rocks whip past.
“You can see him getting rocked through the waves of snow and then all of a sudden he slides right past the trees moving 20 or 30 mph,” Trent Meisenheimer of the the Utah Avalanche Center and U.S. Forest Service says in the video.
The skier comes to rest buried in snow and begins screaming for help. “I’m here! Here!” he shouts. “Oh my god! Here! Here! Here!”
“It was scary,” said John Brown, one of the skier’s friends, Fox News reported. “I didn’t know how to think straight, really.”
The fallen skier’s companions spotted one of his skis sticking up through the snow and rushed to dig him out, Meisenheimer said, USA Today reported.
In the video, light through the snow grows brighter as the skier’s friends dig one or two feet down to him to pull him out. “We got you, buddy,” a rescuer says as they break through. “We got you.”
“When I hit his leg for the first time he started screaming,” said friend Colby Stevenson, Fox News reported. “It was very frantic, we were just going to dig until his head was free and he could breathe.”
In the video released by the Utah Avalanche Center, Meisenheimer says the group of experienced backcountry skiers had been aware of the avalanche danger and had the proper gear on hand to dig their friend out.
The skier was not injured, the avalanche center reported.