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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  • Karena-OBr
    12/03/2014 - 02:00 p.m.

    I think they found the boys because of footprints. In the story it said that the police found footprints disappearing in the snow. When the police found the boot, he was staying positive that they would still be alive. I think that Elijah and Jason are very lucky to survive under the snow for seven hours. I'm still wondering why the person plowing the snow didn't see Elijah and Jason.

  • brandonmc-Cla
    12/03/2014 - 02:13 p.m.

    The clue that lead them to finding the boys was the footprints that were slowing disappearing as the snow fell , then they found the shovel.

  • allisonD-Cla
    12/03/2014 - 02:15 p.m.

    The first clue that led the rescuers to find the boys are the footprints. The second clue is the shovel that led to the snow pile. I don't know what I would do if I was trapped in the snow pile.

  • nancyM-Cla
    12/03/2014 - 02:22 p.m.

    The article about the young boys trapped in the snow bank is scary and traumatizing !
    I think the boys were very smart to just try to stay warm by using the face mask . And by trying to stay awake by talking to each other through the seven hours of being stuck . Also officer Brandon Rola was quick to get them out of the snow pile , once he found the boys footprints and shovel .

  • Ethan-Arm
    12/03/2014 - 04:48 p.m.

    I think it is great that the officer could track down these boys just looking at the footprints. It is also great that these boys survived but reading articles like this should make us feel more grateful for the life we live.

  • Ethan-Arm
    12/03/2014 - 04:51 p.m.

    It is really great the officer could track these boys down just using their footprints. I also think it is fantastic these two boys survived 7 hours under that snow pile but reading articles like this should make us feel a little more grateful for the life we live.

  • MaxMicheletti
    12/03/2014 - 05:38 p.m.

    This article is about 2 boys who were trapped under snow for 7 hours straight. This happened when they were building a snow fort and a snowplow poured snow all over them. They could hear their parents cries, but they couldn't respond loudly enough to be heard. Eventually, though, a police officer found footprints that suddenly ended. He started digging, and found the boys. When they were out, they were lucky to be alive. Wow! I can't believe that they survived that long! I would be terrified if I was in their situation. I wouldn't know what to do.

  • KiraWvA-4
    12/03/2014 - 05:56 p.m.

    Two cousins, 9 and 11, were trapped in a snow bank for seven hours under about five feet of snow. They were building a snow fort when the plow covered them with snow, and police credited an air pocket for keeping them alive. There was a huge search for them after their parents realized that they were missing, and one policeman saw footprints and found a boot after a minute of digging, so everyone joined in. The two boys, Jason and Elijah were suffering from exposure but fine after they were admitted to the hospital. I think that if they had built a roof on their snow fort, they would have been worse off because there would be more snow above them and not enough structure-plus they would have made it more compact, leading to less air. I think this would put a damper on the next time they go outside to play.

  • Carson-Arm
    12/03/2014 - 06:05 p.m.

    Those two boys are lucky that those people saw their footprints in the snow or else they probably would have died. They are very lucky!

  • MatthewL-Cal
    12/03/2014 - 06:48 p.m.

    Dang man, 7 hours! You know how they were unable to move, I'm claustrophobic so you can imagine how fun that would be for me. So basically...
    They get trapped under snow.
    They use a mask to breath ( while unable to move).
    They stay there for 7 hours.
    They're saved.

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