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Avalanche Video Shows Echo Peak Rescue
Helmet-cam video footage has been released of the moment a skier was swept away in an avalanche - and his successful rescue.
The video shows the skier triggering the slide on fresh storm snow and then disappearing from view as the mass moves down the mountain peak.
Four other less experienced skiers can then be seen preparing a rescue and activating an emergency beacon before attempting to dig out the trapped man.
The first person on the scene sees the trapped skier waving a hand, although the rest of his body is buried.
He then pulls out a plastic snow shovel from a backpack and starts digging.
Struggling to avoid sinking into the soft snow, the rescuer continues to dig until the skier can grab a ski pole.
They then attempt to pull the trapped person out but the weight of snow prevents any movement.
The remarkable rescue happened on December 29, on Echo Peak in California's Tahoe National Forest.
The rescue was hampered by the effort involved with strenuous work in the thin air at an elevation of almost 9,000ft.
But after continued digging the rescued skier, still wearing his safety helmet, scrambles to his feet.
The skier later permitted the Sierra Avalanche Centre to publicise details of the accident, to help other skiers to avoid similar pre and post-accident errors.
The skier said: "Once the slope let go, I was helpless. Everything I'd ever heard, read, or talked about went through my mind. Stay on top. Get your feet downhill. Backstroke.
"Remember to create an air pocket when the slide slows. Punch a hand towards the sky. The truth is that I was at the mercy of the snow."
"Everything was black and the urge to panic was overwhelming. After repeatedly telling myself to calm down, I was able to clear an airway with my free hand. Then all I could do was wait.
"I was very lucky."