Boys survive 7 hours trapped beneath snow
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
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Two boys, trapped in a snow pile for about seven hours after a plow buried them, could hear their worried family's cries but 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., when a plow operator 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, and they relied on each other to stay alive, they said, sharing Elijah's face mask to try and keep their hands warm and talking 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."

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

"I felt led to dig," he said.

Rescuers, seeing the sole of a child's boot, dug faster and 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, but Jason's mother said she wasn't sure when they would be discharged.

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

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Assigned 16 times

  • LoganW-Wit
    12/09/2014 - 10:28 a.m.

    The clue that led them to the boys was the footprints and the shovel. If i got trapped i don't think that i would be able to survive. I would fall asleep and most likely die in my sleep. So cheers to these two boys who not only stayed awake but survived. They where lucky to have an air bubble to breath. Also that they were not crushed under the snow and ice.

  • BrendonO-Wit
    12/09/2014 - 10:29 a.m.

    Ok. To be honest how could they not get out normally? Unless these kids were 3 ft tall there is pretty much no way to get trapped under 5 ft of snow. I could stand up in that and it wouldn't be covering me. Even if I was 4 ft tall its not hard to dig the amount of a ruler, its just two scoops in your hand and poof your out. So how exactly could they not get out themselves? I mean i know they were in a snow fort but they could have at least tried to dig out through the sides. Thats what I would have done. Even at their age they shouldn't have been pinned. Its not even 200 IB of force on them. I myself could carry over 200 IB at 9. So again, how did they not think on how to get out? Or how were they weak to the point to not get out?

  • TreyvaunT
    12/10/2014 - 06:20 p.m.

    There is no way in the world i would of been able to live through that. I think that 60 degrees is cold. If i was stuck in snow... I would of died in a half hour. That's good that they lived through it.

  • GrantW-2
    12/11/2014 - 11:13 p.m.

    In this article two boys were stuck under a snow pile for 7 hours and made it out alive. These boys were playing in the snow when a snow plow shot a load of snow onto the boys and they were knocked over and crushed under it. Family and neighbors looked every where and finally found the boys shoe after 7 hours of searching. I think it would be crazy to suffocate from snow in your own back yard.

  • taylor.johnston93
    12/12/2014 - 01:18 p.m.

    That's amazing it's so shocking theses two boys survived seven hour from frostbite, not being able to breath very well and the weight of the snow on top of them.I would have been so terrified I would have absolutely no idea what to do you can't move so you have no way of getting out. I'm so glad and relived that their alive!

  • jorgeh-Koc
    12/12/2014 - 01:36 p.m.

    Its crazy how they didn't freeze. They were both smart about what they had to do to survive. the parents must of been re leaved to of had found them i would of been scared.

  • matta-Koc
    12/12/2014 - 01:39 p.m.

    Its good to know that there are people out there who will go all the way to help someone out. Also it was smart of the two kids to be talking and not sleeping. Not a lot of kids there age would know that.

  • krystalv-Koc
    12/15/2014 - 12:58 a.m.

    Its hard to believe that they did not freeze to death. I don't get how they were able to talk to each other if they were covered in 5 feet snow.

  • DaytonaP-Ver
    12/19/2014 - 09:14 a.m.

    I am so surprised that these kids were stuck in this snow pile for 7 hours without any room to move and barley any air to breath.i think Elijah and Jason were very brave and knew what they should do and what they shouldn't do.these kids are very lucky that they were found they could have died if they were in there any longer.

  • karlytorres
    1/06/2015 - 12:51 p.m.

    Two boys trapped beneath snow and survived! I bet it was scary barely breathing, snow piled up on your chest. It seems scary to have all that pressure on you to stay alive and not pass out. I also can't believe that person threw snow on them. how do you not see two kids playing in the snow? Are you blind? I am extremely glad they survived all that.

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