Boys survive 7 hours trapped beneath snow The snowbank in which cousins Jason Rivera and Elijah Martinez built their snow fort sits at the corner of a parking lot in Newburg, New York. Nine-year-old Jason Rivera and Elijah Martinez, 11, appear at left (AP photos)
Boys survive 7 hours trapped beneath snow
Lexile

Two boys, trapped in a snow pile for about seven hours after a plow buried them, could hear their worried family's cries. But they couldn't respond loudly enough to be heard. Police credited an air pocket with saving their lives.

The two cousins, 11-year-old Elijah Martinez and 9-year-old Jason Rivera, were building a snow fort last week across the street from Elijah's apartment in Newburgh, N.Y. That's when a plow operator who was clearing a parking lot unknowingly pushed snow over them.

Buried in about 5 feet of snow, they could barely move and couldn't breathe very well. So they could do nothing as they heard the anguished cries nearby. Jason lost his gloves. His hat flew off. They relied on each other to stay alive, they said. They shared Elijah's face mask to try and keep their hands warm and talked to each other so they wouldn't fall asleep.

"I felt so tired. It didn't feel real that they were coming to get us," Elijah said at a news conference at the hospital where the boys were recovering.

Meanwhile, their parents were growing more frantic, calling police and searching through the snowy streets for the children who were mere feet from the apartment.

"I just kept telling myself: 'This is not true. This is not real,'" said Jason's mom, Aulix Martinez. "It was just scary, and as time went on, it got scarier. I was begging the police to please find them."

Neighbor Takiaya Stevens told The Associated Press that police rallied help for the search.

"The cops were coming to all the neighbors' houses. They were knocking on doors. They were ringing bells asking for shovels, asking for help," she said. "The neighbors came out. Everyone tried to join in the search for the little boys."

Officer Brandon Rola spotted footprints that were disappearing as more snow fell. Then he saw a shovel.

"I felt led to dig," he said.

Rescuers, seeing the sole of a child's boot, dug faster as residents joined in the rescue, some with their bare hands.

"When I first hit the boot, you just try and stay positive and hopeful," Rola said. "You get that ray of hope and everybody just started working together trying to get these kids out. And as the snow kept coming come off, you started to see more and more movement and then you started to hear the voices and it was a very great feeling."

The boys were conscious but suffering from exposure.

"I felt so happy," Elijah said. "Everything we went through just fell right off my back."

"I'm just glad they got that big block off my chest, that was heavy," Jason said.

The cousins appeared healthy Friday, with Jason dressed in plaid pajamas and Elijah still wearing his snow pants and a black sweatshirt with skulls. They said they wanted to eat and go to Disney World when they got home from the hospital. Jason's mother said she wasn't sure when they would be discharged.

Critical thinking challenge: Which clue" led rescuers to the boys?

Assigned 141 times


COMMENTS (250)
  • austinb20-bra
    12/03/2014 - 08:10 a.m.

    The clue was founded by Officer Brandon Rola. It was the footprints that was fading away with all of the new fresh snow. The good eye of Brandon kept the two boys alive. After they were fought they went to a hospital and was okay.

  • kaylag-bra
    12/03/2014 - 08:14 a.m.

    That is very scary! If the rescuers didnt see the sole of the Childs boot in the snow then the kids would have probably never been found. If I was their parents I would be panicking too because I wouldn't know if they were going to be found alive or not. Also, trapped in the snow for 7 hours would seem like forever because it would be freezing. It's good that they found them and they are healthy now.

  • miahh-bra
    12/03/2014 - 08:18 a.m.

    The clue that led rescuers is that Officer Brandon Rola spotted footprints that were disappearing as more snow fell. Then he saw a shovel.
    "I felt led to dig," he said
    Rescuers, seeing the sole of a child's boot, dug faster as residents joined in the rescue, some with their bare hands.

  • Michaelb-bra
    12/03/2014 - 08:18 a.m.

    This was just in time save by the person who found them and good eyes because the clue to find the children was the foot prints,and the guy who put the snow on them should be either arrest or put on a lie detector test!

  • Aw2000red
    12/03/2014 - 08:40 a.m.

    That's very cool how they managed to survive in the snow and maintain to talk to each other so they wouldn't wall asleep.I just want to know how didn't the snow plow see the kids just playing in the snow where they hiding or something?

  • nb2000hare7
    12/03/2014 - 08:42 a.m.

    I think it is scary that they were trapped in the snow for all those hours alone and that its amazing how the found them from little footprints

  • thristoneaST
    12/03/2014 - 09:59 a.m.

    I really liked the story but I don`t see why they the police knocked on the doors of other people instead of just calling the fire department as-well. Anyway I liked the story/article. Last, I`m still confused why 2 kids are outside by them-self ?

  • Daniely-bra
    12/03/2014 - 11:16 a.m.

    The clue that led the rescuers to the boys was their boot that was sticking out of the big pile of snow
    After they dug out were the boot was they found the two boys cold

  • Destinyk-bra
    12/03/2014 - 11:19 a.m.

    That was great that they found him and They found the kids because the parent kept begging and them the police saw the kids footprints and the start digging and they saw a boot and they kept digging until they got the kids out

  • rainm-Tho
    12/03/2014 - 11:43 a.m.

    the clue that led them to the boys was foot prints that were fading away i think since they were fading i helped them know that they were the boys. I'm glade they are OK.

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