Occasionally, television is good for something. That was the case when an 11-year-old boy survived a deadly avalanche, by using tips he had learned from a T.V. show about how to survive an avalanche.
Max Zilvitis was buried under the snow for about 30 minutes, at a ski resort in Park City, Utah. The avalanche that entombed him also killed a 30-year-old Colorado man. Max was unconscious when he was found by rescuers, who used a probe to find him. (A probe is a long pole they stick in the snow). He was found several feet under the snow, and was rushed to the emergency room unconscious.
He regained consciousness on Christmas eve, after doctors aggressively cut his medication and began to wake him up. They had initially attempted to keep him sedated with his body temperature low to avoid brain swelling, but his core body temperature wasn’t rising as fast as they anticipated. Upon waking up, his mother said that Max immediately aksed: “What happened to me? Where are my skis? Where’s my pass? Where’s my jacket?” His family was just grateful to hear him talking. It was the best Christmas Eve gift they could have wished for.
His life was likely saved by three words he learned from a show on the Discovery channel: Create air pockets. He said that to himself as he got caught up in the avalanche, and those air pockets allowed him enough oxygen to stay alive until rescuers arrived. It’s the last thing he remembers before waking up in the hospital.
“I’m doing great,” Max told ABC’s Good Morning America following the ordeal. The family plans to revisit the site to thank those that played a role in the rescue.