A 12-year-old boy survived after being buried for 40 minutes under an avalanche in Savoie, France, on Wednesday.
The boy was in an off-piste area with six relatives, including his parents, at the La Plagne resort when he was swept away at around 3,000 metres.
The avalanche was 800 metres long and more than four metres deep. The boy was found 40 minutes after the avalanche by a rescue dog and transported to Grenoble hospital with a fractured leg.
“It’s a miracle because he was not wearing an avalanche detector (DVA),” said a representative from the high mountain rescue team (PGHM). “The chances of survival are slim after fifteen minutes in the snow, he was very lucky.”
The commander of the Savoie mountain police Patrice Ribes said, “He was dragged several hundred metres without being crushed by the force of the snow and did not inhale any snow.”
The boy avoided asphyxiation thanks to the “poor quality” of the snow, which allowed good air circulation. About 30 people took part in the search and rescue.
“He was conscious when he was found because he shouted when he heard the sound played out by the gendarme,” said Luc Nicolino. “He had a small amount of snow in his mouth and knee and thigh pain but the doctor wasn’t worried about him,” he added.
French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner posted on Twitter congratulating Gétro the rescue dog and his handler, Raphaël Chauvin who located the child.