Imagine digging in this stuff… | Photo: Richard Allaway | Cover: Ari Bakker

A 22 year-old man is lucky to be alive after being buried over 10+ feet below the snow surface for some 40 minutes in Jaun, Switzerland on January 14th. The buried victim was discovered by rescuers thanks to his Recco reflector as well as one very intuitive avalanche dog.

The man was skiing a steep slope with two others when a size-able avalanche released. Nobody in the party was properly equipped with avalanche safety equipment.

“The avalanche dog marked a zone after 10 minutes, but the probing was unsuccessful. The rescue team immediately got a signal nearby with the RECCO detector and was able to pinpoint the victim. The position of the victim was confirmed with the probe and after 40 minutes of digging, the skier was found alive and conscious on a depth of 3.20 meters. He was rescued about 1 hour and 10 minutes after the burial and transported to the hospital. He is fine today.” –  Linus Buchs, Head of Rescue

That said, the buried victim was wearing a RECCO reflector, which allowed rescuers to pinpoint his location (*RECCO rescue reflectors make you searchable to professional rescuers. They are not a substitute for a transceiver, shovel and probe used for companion rescue). Survival rates for buried victims drop drastically after a 15 minutes to 30%.

Also Watch: The Best Avalanche Safety Video Ever! #KBYG

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