Lifestyle & Human Interest

Miracle: Age 12 Boy Survives After Avalanche Buries Him for 40 Minutes


Nature is a beautiful and terrifying thing. There are so many wonders and potential pitfalls that it’s wise not to stray too far into any wilderness without being knowledgeable and prepared.

In the winter months, plenty of people answer the call of the snow-capped peaks, finding their ways to resorts and ski lifts in an effort to enjoy the season.

Mountains and snow offer a challenge because of their inherent risks. Conditions can be treacherous, and without the proper gear, you could find yourself the victim of an avalanche.

There’s plenty of equipment on the market to help you survive such an event. Many professional organizations, including REI, suggest that at the minimum you take a snow shovel, a probe and an avalanche transceiver when you go skiing out in less-traveled areas.

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An unnamed 12-year-old was at the La Plagne ski resort in the French Alps when he found himself caught up in an avalanche the day after Christmas. Fortunately, other people were around and the six family members he was with noticed he’d gotten swept away.

Your odds of survival decrease dramatically after 15 minutes, so time was of the essence once they lost sight of the boy. Many people are told to treat an avalanche as you would treat water, and try to stay on the surface or swim your way to the surface or side.

To make matters more difficult, according to ABC News the boy was not wearing gear equipped with detectors, so rescuers opted to use a dog to sniff him out.

A rescue helicopter and over 30 people turned up to help locate the boy. After 40 minutes, the dog (named Gétro) found the 12-year-old, and the boy was quickly flown to the hospital.

“It’s a miracle because he was not wearing an avalanche detector,” said one of the rescue team members, according to Euronews. “The chances of survival are slim after fifteen minutes in the snow, he was very lucky.”

According to Luc Nicolino, the piste manager, the boy was conscious when they found him, and he yelled out to them when he heard them nearby.

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“He had a small amount of snow in his mouth and knee and thigh pain but the doctor wasn’t worried about him,” Nicolino said.

“He was dragged several hundred metres without being crushed by the force of the snow,” said Patrice Ribes with the Savoie mountain police. “We can call it a miracle. A day after Christmas, there was another gift in store.”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking