To some, an incredible rescue in the French Alps on Wednesday is nothing short of a miracle.
According to USA Today, a 12-year-old boy skiing at the La Plagne ski resort in southeast France was found alive after being buried in snow for 40 minutes following an avalanche on the mountain.
The boy and his family had just left a run and were skiing “off piste” (off prepared ski runs) when the avalanche happened around 2 p.m. local time, RTE reported. He was the only one caught in the avalanche and was dragged at least 100 meters (110 yards), according to USA Today. The avalanche site was at 2,400 meters (7,875 feet) altitude.
Since the boy did not have a transmitter beacon to help rescuers find him, the odds of finding the boy were quite slim. Luckily, sniffer dogs were able to locate the boy within the hour.
However, even 40 minutes could have potentially been too late. “It's a miracle because he had no victim detection device. The chances of survival are minuscule after 15 minutes under the snow,” a rescue worker said to RTE.
“We can call it a miracle. A day after Christmas, there was another gift in store,” said Captain Patrice Ribes of the Bourg Saint-Maurice police, according to USA Today. Police also stated that one of the miraculous reasons the boy survived was that the snow did not block his airways, ABC News reported.
The boy did, however, suffer a broken leg and had to be taken to a hospital in nearby Grenoble, according to RTE. Otherwise, he is doing well after the accident.
Being caught in the path of an avalanche can be frightening to the point where you might not even know what to do. Luckily, there are some tactics you can use in the event you happen to find yourself in the snow’s path.