Snowboarder's helmet video shows narrow escape from avalanche in the French Alps

VIDEO: Thomas Kray was thankfully equipped with an avalanche airbag while snowboarding in the French Alps.PlayThomas Kray
WATCH Snowboarder's escape from avalanche caught on video

A man snowboarding down a mountain in the French Alps during an avalanche managed to survive by using an avalanche airbag, and the whole harrowing ordeal was caught on his helmet camera.

On Sunday, Thomas Kray was descending smoothly down a steep mountain in Tignes, France, but he triggered an avalanche as he approached the bottom and the slope begins to flatten.

Video shows the snow ahead of Kray cracking like ocean waves before he falls deep into a soft pile of powder.

"I fell under the snow as you would fall underwater," Kray told The Associated Press.

PHOTO: French-Lebanese snowboarder Thomas Kray survived after getting stuck in an avalanche in the French Alps by using an avalanche air bag. Thomas Kray
French-Lebanese snowboarder Thomas Kray survived after getting stuck in an avalanche in the French Alps by using an avalanche air bag.

Kray had hiked up the peak, known as "Petite Balme" to snowboard down one of his favorite runs, he said. As he tumbled beneath the snow, he immediately tried to trigger his avalanche airbag with his left hand, but it slipped.

"Thank God I could reach the handle with my right hand," he said.

PHOTO: French-Lebanese snowboarder Thomas Kray survived after getting stuck in an avalanche in the French Alps by using an avalanche air bag. Thomas Kray
French-Lebanese snowboarder Thomas Kray survived after getting stuck in an avalanche in the French Alps by using an avalanche air bag.

Once the airbag was open, Kray said he knew he was in a "safer" position, and he tried to protect the space in front of his mouth in case he became buried.

"The airbag kept me afloat and I could ride down unharmed after the avalanche stopped," he said.

PHOTO: French-Lebanese snowboarder Thomas Kray survived after getting stuck in an avalanche in the French Alps by using an avalanche air bag. Thomas Kray
French-Lebanese snowboarder Thomas Kray survived after getting stuck in an avalanche in the French Alps by using an avalanche air bag.

Kray decided to share the video to highlight the importance of having safety equipment, he said.

A 2014 study found that wearing an avalanche airbag improved the chance of survival by 50 percent, according to the AP.