Helmet video captures Colorado college students rescuing dog buried in avalanche
Bobby White and Josh Trujillo were ski touring in the popular Berthoud Pass, Colorado area when they saw a cloud of snow burst – a sign of an avalanche – at least a thousand feet away.
As White rushed to reassemble his splitboard, Trujillo was immediately able to ski down to the avalanche debris where he encountered another group, the two Colorado School of Mines students told ABC News in a phone interview. .
Each person was found, but a dog was caught and buried in a field of debris that Trujillo described as being 300 meters long and 50 meters wide.
According to a preliminary report of the Dec. 26 events written by the dog’s owner and sent to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, his group had accidentally veered off course and stopped just over steeper terrain susceptible to avalanches. . The dog, named Apollo, according to Trujillo, fled from the owner over a steep, rocky slope, triggered the avalanche, and was swept up the cliff and through several trees before disappearing into the sea of snow.
The dog’s owner got off the chute and into the path of the toboggan to begin the search, according to his report. It was then that he saw Trujillo. The owner told the owner that only the dog got caught in the slide, Trujillo and White still took out their avalanche beacons and scanned the area in case an invisible skier was caught.
Once they realized there were no humans buried, their search for the dog began. Using their sounding poles, which are usually around 8 feet long, they poked through the snow in the hopes of hitting the buried dog.
“Needle in a haystack,” White is heard exclaim in the video of his helmet recording the frantic search.
The dog’s owner was also looking, but higher up in the debris field.
“Where did you last see him?” White yelled at the owner.
“Good at the top,” he replied.
Trujillo, the owner of White and Apollo, continued the search for 20 minutes. According to the Utah Avalanche Center, 93% of human avalanche victims can be recovered alive if they are dug up within 15 minutes.
“But then the numbers drop catastrophically,” its website says, falling to just 20-30% after 45 minutes.
Trujillo and White had decided that morning to avoid avalanche-prone slopes due to the “high” snowpack danger rating that day determined by the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. But research has placed them just below a menacing ridge.
“I think we have to get out of here,” White told Trujillo in the helmet video. “That dog is dead. That’s why I don’t like dogs in avalanche terrain. We’re all like probing under the worst avalanche terrain in Berthoud right now.”
But barely two minutes later, as Josh retrieves his ski poles for storage, he sees a nose sticking out of the snow and screams.
“I found it! I found it, I found it, I found it,” he shouts. “I can see him. He’s still alive.”
Trujillo yells at the dog’s owner and the two begin to dig vigorously. A third passer-by appears, having heard the tumult, and also begins to dig.
“We’re coming, mate,” White said to Apollo between exhausted breaths.
After about a minute of digging, the dog breaks free and jumps out of the snow with no signs of trauma other than a limp.
“Are you okay, mate?” A little scared ? White tells the dog as he runs away on his own.
“Ah my mate! The dog’s owner is heard exclaiming off camera.
White told ABC News the dog appeared to be fine, aside from an injured leg.
When asked what he took away from the day, Trujillo told ABC News that he and White plan to continue learning about avalanche safety. They plan to “avoid dangerous places on busy days because we were very intelligent in our day and were always in danger due to circumstances beyond our control.”
“Also, no dogs in the backcountry,” Trujillo said.
Robert said he bought the GoPro that recorded the rescue the day before.
As for the owner of Apollo, he thanked the two young men profusely, calling them “my heroes,” White said.
The dog’s owner did not respond to ABC News’ request for an interview. White and Trujillo wish to thank the anonymous Good Samaritan who helped them unearth Apollo.