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 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?

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  • ChloeJ-Cal
    12/03/2014 - 11:49 a.m.

    "Boys Survive 7 hours Trapped Beneath Snow" written by Micheal Hill tells the story of two boys being trapped under snow for 7 hours and surviving by talking to each other so they don't fall asleep and by keeping each other warm.

  • sweetcupcake2
    12/03/2014 - 11:56 a.m.

    I can't beleive they found the cousins! That is such a sad and happy story, I wonder how long it took to finally find the boys?! There must have been a lot of snow on the ground to cover them with 7 feet! They must've had lots of courage because they were under 7 feet of snow! I bet the neighborhood was crawling with police officers! It is really that their neighbors helped to find the cousins! I hope they are doing better now!:)

  • Emack500
    12/03/2014 - 12:58 p.m.

    It is truly remarkable that those kids didn't get frostbite even when sharing each other's body heat, I mean come on they were under pure snow for seven hours and even a large air pocket would run out considering they probably were taking panicked breaths that would use a lot of air fast thus suffocating them sooo... yeah.

  • km1999bieber
    12/03/2014 - 01:02 p.m.

    The clue that led the rescuers to find the boys was the shovel sticking out of the snow where the boys were playing earlier. the shovel was sticking out of the snow when the police man and others were searching for the missing kids. and once they saw the shovel they thought that they could be under the snow. it was a miracle that they survived.

  • love2swim
    12/03/2014 - 01:26 p.m.

    I believe the snow plow company should have employed a more aware driver, it was just lucky that the police managed to find the footprints if he hadn't the boys may have been dead.

  • Bailey1129
    12/03/2014 - 01:33 p.m.

    This really scary! I wonder if the man driving the snow plow truck even noticed? It must have been really scary for the to little boys and there parents. i cant believe the little boys didn't dies for being under there freezing and not having that much air to breath.

  • Calebe-OBr
    12/03/2014 - 01:39 p.m.

    Imagine how scary it was for Elijah and Jason inside that snow-bank. I would have definitely fallen asleep, even if I had a friend with me. It was a pure sign of bravery what Jason and Elijah did inside that pile of snow. The main clue of how the police found the two boys was footprints that were leading up to and stopping at the snow bank. If the two boys were in that snow a couple more hours, the footprints might have disappeared and the boys would have suffocated. The two boys' moms must have almost fainted when they were found. I wold blame the driver from the snow plow a little bit too, for dumping so much snow on Jason and Elijah.

  • maddie.4
    12/03/2014 - 01:43 p.m.

    I can't imagine being trapped in the snow for seven hours! Thankfully, they had each other to keep them awake so they didn't die. Hopefully from now on snow plows are more careful when kids are around.

  • Carsonc-OBr
    12/03/2014 - 01:43 p.m.

    The footprints in the snow led them to the where the boys were buried. When the police showed up, they found faint footprints in the snow where the boys were playing before they were plowed over. If the boys had built a roof over their fort, then I believe that they probably would have been alright. I can't believe those two survived for seven hours without dying a cold death. There are really lucky.

  • christopherdog10
    12/03/2014 - 01:58 p.m.

    That would be scary, because I wouldn't be able to breathe or move. I feel sorry for the two boys.They got buried because the plow operator didn't see them and buried them with snow. They were buried for 7 hours.

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