2 January 2019 from Danielle in 'Latest news''

A young skier in the French Alps is lucky to be alive after a brush with an avalanche on Boxing Day. The 12-year-old boy was skiing at La Plagne in the French Alps when he got caught in an avalanche which carried him dozens of metres down the mountain and separated him from his group, burying him under the snow for 53 minutes. Rescue workers said the chances of survival after being buried in an avalanche for so long were slim to none. The boy can thank the search-and-rescue dog who sniffed him out from under several feet of snow.

Boy found by search-and-rescue dog

The boy was skiing off-piste, the first in a group of seven skiers, when a large section of snow broke off and swept him more than 100m down the mountain. The avalanche left him buried under several feet of snow. 40 rescue workers, a helicopter and a search and rescue dog were deployed to the scene, which was located at an altitude of 2400m. Although the boy was not wearing an avalanche beacon, the dog managed to sniff him out. The boy was found conscious and immediately airlifted to safety. He was sent to a local hospital with what was believed to be a fractured leg.

Hier à 13h50 une avalanche s’est produite sur le secteur glacier sur la piste du rochu qui était fermé à la clientèle...

Posted by Association Des Pisteurs Secouristes De La Plagne on Thursday, 27 December 2018

Most avalanche victims succumb to asphyxiation after 15 minutes

Rescuers said the chances of survival after 15 minutes of being trapped in an avalanche are minuscule. Luckily, the boy’s airways were not blocked by snow, which police said was probably the main factor in the boy’s miraculous survival. The French Ministor of the Interior praised the dog, Gétro, and his handler, Raphäel Chauvin, for finding the boy without an avalanche transceiver.

Always be avalanche-safe when skiing and snowboarding off-piste

The French Alps received several heavy snowfalls last month after a late start to the season and the snow cover was unstable. Many pistes at La Plagne were closed due to lack of snow on the day the boy was trapped in the avalanche. Always remember to follow the advice of the ski resort, for your own safety and that of others, and be properly equipped and well-versed in avalanche safety before venturing off-piste.

Teaser photo © Facebook, Association Des Pisteurs Secouristes De La Plagne

Born and raised in the ski paradise of Vancouver, Canada, I learned to ski before I can remember, balancing precariously on my parents’ skis as they sailed down the hill. I started snowboarding in my teens and am now delighted to be exploring everything Europe’s ski scene has to offer!