A group of snowmobilers armed with only shovels and the will to find their friend are being hailed as heroes today after rescuing the man from beneath 10 feet of snow.
Tyson Black was snowmobiling with the group at Hoyts Peak in Utah Sunday when his run up the peak triggered an avalanche.
Black's friend, Bronson Butler, was recording the run on his smartphone and captured the moments as Black barreled down the mountain, one hand on his snowmobile and the other hand trying to create an air pocket around his face to protect him from what he knew would be his fate, a landing deep beneath the snow.
"I just really couldn't believe it was actually happening to us," Butler said. "I was just thinking we were invincible, nothing is going to happen to us and if it does slide, we'll outrun it."
Instead, Black quickly fell out of the sight of Butler's phone's lens and disappeared in the snow.
Butler and the rest of the snowmobilers out for the ride quickly jumped into action to find Black but their task was made more difficult by Black's not wearing an avalanche beacon on the run, local affiliate KTVX reported.
After more than 20 minutes of frantic searching, one of the snowmobilers hit Black's helmet with his shovel.
It took another 20 minutes for the group of friends to pull Black out of the snow completely. "It was heavy stuff," Butler said. "Each shovelful was just a work to get it up and out."
Black had lost consciousness while in the snow, he later said, but was alive and alert when his friends pulled him out. His only injury was a hurt knee and he was back at work Monday.
"I just started bawling," Black's girlfriend, Brandy Newbold, who was also part of the snowmobiling group, said of the rescue. "It was amazing."