Cousins Trapped in Snowbank Say 'Thanks' to Rescuers

The two boys were buried when a snow plow operator pushed snow over them.

— -- Two New York boys expressed thanks to their rescuers today after the pair were inadvertently trapped for about eight hours in a snowbank when a plow operator pushed snow over them, not realizing they were there.

Cousins Jason Rivera, 9, and Elijah Martinez, 11, told ABC News they were feeling "good" today after being buried under 7 feet of snow.

"I want to say, thank you ... for the cop shovels to help us up, help us out of the snow," Jason said from his hospital bed. "I thank you for trying to help us ... out of the snow and helping us two little kids."

Jason and Elijah were playing in the snow and building a snow fort Wednesday at 6 p.m. near their homes in Newburgh, Orange County, when a snow plow came by and accidentally threw a wall of snow on top of them. The two were buried side by side in the pitch-black darkness.

"I only saw his hoodie because it was glowing, glowing in the dark," Elijah said about Jason.

Though their heads were in an air pocket, the rest of their bodies were encased in ice.

"The only thing he could move was one of his arms," Elijah said. "That's it."

When the boys didn’t return home by 10 p.m., family and friends set out looking for them before calling police. Both of their mothers walked by the snow pile that trapping their sons, but neither heard the boys screaming inside.

Eventually, a police officer spotted a shovel sticking out of the snow and started digging. The officer came across one of the boy's boots. About 30 people, including police officers, relatives and neighbors, frantically dug through the snow to pull them to safety as subfreezing temperatures set in.

The boys were pulled from the snow around 2 a.m., cold, but otherwise OK, and taken to the hospital for observation.

"It was Thanksgiving, a time to be with your family and friends, and they were all there with me trying to find my boys," said Elijah's mother, Aulix Martinez. "So I really want to thank them, thank everybody who jumped out and gave us shovels and just dug, dug and didn't give up on looking for them."

Takiaya Stevens, who witnessed the rescue, said the situation reflected the community’s togetherness.

“What I seen last night showed common courtesy and decency. They ran to every neighbor in my complex to try to get shovels for these little kids,” Stevens said.

ABC News' Gio Benitez and The Associated Press contributed to this report.