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 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. 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. Next 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, but Jason's mother said she wasn't sure when they would be discharged.

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

Assigned 8 times


COMMENTS (7)
  • shelbym-Orv
    12/03/2014 - 04:35 p.m.

    That seems like a scary situation to be in!! I would be freaking out. The "clue" that led rescuers to the boys was a boot. I wonder what would have happened if they didn't ind the boot. Would they have died? I guess we'll never know.................

  • AmandaM-1
    12/03/2014 - 08:56 p.m.

    Two cousins, Elijah and Jason were playing in the snow at a parking lot in New York. A snow plow operator Pushed snow over them without realizing it. The boys were buried in 5 feet of snow and struggled to breathe, keep warm, and stay awake. The parents sent search parties everywhere throughout the town to find their beloved boys. Officer Brandon discovered footprints that led to the big pile of icy snow. He found a shovel next to it and began to dig. He hit the sole of one of the boys' shoe and continued digging. Other officers and neighbors started helping as they saw more and more movement. They finally uncovered the unconscious boys and took them to the hospital. I think that this is really scary because it can happen to anyone. I haven't had much experience with snow but I heard that kids have been buried in sand before on the beach and it's terrifying.

  • Eric0221-YYCA
    12/03/2014 - 10:39 p.m.

    Wow, two boys that just survived in 7 feet of freezing snow on them for 7 whole hours without being found by the rescuers, that will be a good hiding place for me only if I didn't take off my snow stuff off of me cause it might lead me to a frostbite that will be painful to me if I ever got one on me. Well it looks like some rescuers got some clues to the boys where there are buried in the snow for such a long but it will feel like the boys had spent a million years or a billion hours in the snow cause they felt like its forever.
    Critical thinking challenge: Which "clue" led the rescuers to the boys?
    Answer: The clues had led the rescuers to the boys cause when they got plowed over, some of the snow boots, snow shirts and snow shoes had gotten off of them so that led it to the boys.

  • NikkiS-5
    12/04/2014 - 07:17 p.m.

    Two boys, or cousins, were playing out in the snow. A snow plow, without intension, dumped five feet of snow on them. The two boys were trapped in the snow. As more time went on, the parents got more frantic. They begged the police to help with the search. The police agreed and went from house to house knocking on doors asking for help. All these boys could do was sit tight and wait. Finally footprints and a snow boot led all the people to their location. The two boys are happy and relieved to be home. I am happy that nothing tragic happened to these two cousins. It must be such a relief for them and the parents.

  • carolinecat11
    12/05/2014 - 02:15 p.m.

    I can't believe that these 2 cousins survived 7 hours under that big pile of snow. I bet I would have survived too if I just believed in myself and tried to talk to one of my friends under there. It was so smart of them to talk to each other so they wouldn't fall asleep.

  • SeabassK-5
    12/08/2014 - 11:11 a.m.

    This article is about an eleven-year-old, Elijah, and a nine-year-old,Jason, being trapped beneath snow for seven hours straight. They were building a snow fort in a parking lot in New York. The plow operator, unknowingly pushed about five feet of snow over the boys. the police said it was an air pocket that kept them alive. Elijah and Jason helped one another not fall asleep and stay warm. The police and neighbors helped look for the missing kids. The police officer saw snow boot prints and started digging there. Then neighbors from around the street started digging with the police officer. as they got deeper they started to see more movement. They finally fond the boys alive but suffering from exposure. The cousins appeared healthy on Friday. Why did they boys not try and dig themselves out of the snow? Did they get scared?

  • p1-abigail-2-pen
    8/24/2015 - 09:15 a.m.

    The clue(s)that led to the rescue of the boys was the man who saw a shovel and footprints and the pile of snow. Another one of the clues that led to the boys rescue is when everyone started digging and one of the neighbors hit the sole of the boys boots. A few of the things that helped the boys survive was them using Elijah's hat to keep their hands warm, and the boys keeping each other awake. The archetype of the boys rescuers is the helpers or the hero. I know this because the boys rescuers help each other find the lost boys, and they save the day by saving the boys lives.

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