Danny Ferrari Survives Being Trapped Under Snow for 45 Minutes After Avalanche
Ferrari, 42, was snowboarding with a friend near Arapahoe Basin in Colorado when the avalanche occurred. Before he hit the slopes, he had checked avalanche forecasts and packed important equipment like a shovel, beacon and probe. The avalanche started when Ferrari followed his friend down a slope.
"I was coming down and I felt a change in the snowpack," he said. "I pushed down and the whole slope just released."
The cascade of snow slammed Ferrari into a tree and spun him head over heels. When the avalanche finally stopped, Ferrari was trapped under the snow and was unsure which way was up.
Ferrari then ate some of the snow near his mouth, creating a small air pocket so that he could breathe. He then moved his arm enough to break through the snow, and he soon determined which way was up thanks to a small ray of sunlight poking through the hole left by his hand.
"I (thought), 'Whoa, this is serious. You might die,'" Ferrari said. "It just engulfed me."
Over the course of the next 45 minutes, he struggled to free himself from the snow. Finally, Arapahoe Basin employees arrived on the scene, having been summoned by Ferrari's friend using his cell phone.
According to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, 27 people in the United States were killed in avalanches during the 2008-2009 winter season. Just 34 percent of people trapped under snow for more than half an hour survive.
People who have survived an avalanche can contact the Trauma Resource Institute for information on how to cope in the aftermath of the ordeal.