Woman Buried Alive In Avalanche Saved By Left Hand

Crystal Mountain

An avalanche buried a woman alive over the weekend and her left hand played a big part in her survival.

The Mason County Daily News reports that Emily Anderson, an experienced skier, was the victim of an avalanche this week in Washington. The incident took place on Crystal Mountain, an area that saw the accumulation of 40 inches of snow over the course of Sunday and Monday.

According to Paul Baugher, a ski patrol director at Crystal Mountain, the victim was trapped underneath the snow for approximately 15 minutes. The woman was among a group of ski patrols, avalanche control staff, and expert skiers allowed access to the site before the avalanche occurred.

Twenty-year-old Emily Anderson was skiing when she was suddenly buried beneath the rushing snow. Her companions quickly noticed she was missing and were able to use a cell phone to call for help. Minutes later they were joined by a ski patrol member to assist in the search.

ABC News writes that Anderson’s first reaction to being trapped was to find a way to keep breathing. Immobilized by the surrounding snow, she was able to produce small movement in her left hand. This tiny action allowed her to move snow away from her mouth. She recounts those first few moments:

“My head was down, facing down, a little bit and so I, like, had to kind of scoop the snow away. I breathed in snow a little bit — that was scary. I was kind of in a sitting position, and my right arm was stuck out … to my side … [I] couldn’t move it.”

After 15 minutes of searching with their poles, the ski patrol and Anderson’s relieved friends were able to locate her. The young skier was lucky to emerge from the situation relatively unscathed and skied back down the mountain on her own.

She is even thinking of a future job as a ski patrol.

Tell us what you think of a woman using her left hand to survive being buried alive by an avalanche.