Snowmobiler digs brother out of avalanche
SALT LAKE CITY —
A family was snowmobiling along the Utah-Idaho border when they got caught in an avalanche this week.
"It sounded like thunder rolling through the trees. You could hear limbs breaking and trees snappin'... it was scary," said Kaden Francis. Then, he realized his 20-year-old brother Trace was trapped, "and I called over the radio and said 'avalanche, avalanche'... Trace is buried."
Lucky for Trace, he had the proper equipment to survive and a brother searching for him.
Not knowing where Trace was, Kaden searched for his brother's avalanche airbag. "'Cause when I finally saw the airbag it was against the tree, worst case scenario is what comes to your mind," said Kaden.
Once he found the airbag, he found Trace, who was buried under heavy snow, his head was barely above the surface.
"I immediately started running towards him, and he's only 50 yards away from me up the hill, but with that deep a snow it felt like it took me an hour to get to him," said Kaden.
For 45 minutes, Trace's brother, father, and uncle struggled to get him out.
The snowmobile was crushed, and somehow Trace walked away unharmed.
Kaden credits the gear that they were using, "We would not have found him. He would have been completely buried. That avi-bag is what saved his life. He would have been completely under."
It's a reminder that this could happen to anyone on the slopes. "We thought - oh, it's never going to happen to us. It's not a matter of if, it's when," said Kaden.