Missing Boys Found Buried Alive After Plow Piled 5 Feet of Snow Over Them

snow pileCousins Elijah Martinez, 11, and Jason Rivera, 9, were building a snow fort across the street from Elijah's house in Newburgh, New York, on Thanksgiving Eve. This part of the Hudson Valley was hit with a big storm and there were up to 11 feet of heavy snow in different parts of the region. A snow fort sounded about right ... until it became one of the most terrifying incidents in these young boys' lives. A snow plow didn't see them and piled over five feet of snow on top of the fort they were in. Their family frantically searched for them unaware they were right there across the street hearing them yell, but unable to scream loud enough to be heard.


Luckily, Elijah and Jason had a small clearing around their heads so they could breathe, but as the minutes became hours, their breath was labored and they didn't think they would make it out of this accidental burial. They shared Elijah's face mask because Jason's hat and gloves were lost when the snow piled on top of them. The kids were getting tired but made sure to keep talking to each other so they would stay awake and held onto hope that someone would rescue them. 

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The family asked neighbors for help when they couldn't find the boys. Hours passed. Darkness fell. The police were involved and helping. The boys were fighting to stay alive and at around 2 a.m. Officer Brandon Rola saw footprints around the snow mound across from the Elijah's apartment. And then he spotted the shovel, which "led him to dig" he said. Everyone ran to the massive snow pile, digging with shovels and those who didn't have a shovel, did so with their bare hands. Officer Rola said:

When I first hit the boot, you just try and stay positive and hopeful. 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.

When Jason and Elijah were freed, they were elated but clearly needed hospitalization for being exposed to such cold temps in the ice for nearly eight hours. And that's where the family spent Thanksgiving -- so thankful that these kids were safe after almost freezing to death. The boys are expected to fully recover and may even get their wish to go to Disney World. I bet their parents will work hard to make that happen as long as they promise there will be no more snow forts.

What a freak accident. Kids build snow forts all the time. And this plow clearly didn't mean to bury the kids -- he or she was just doing their job, clearing a parking lot unaware that there were kids in an ice fort under a smaller pile of snow. Thank goodness that police officer went with his instinct to dig out that mound of snow. And thank goodness it wasn't too late.

Do your kids play in snow mounds and make snow forts? Does this story concern you?

Image via Jay Cross/Flickr

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