Gut-wrenching video has gone viral that shows a massive avalanche barreling toward snowmobilers in Utah on Saturday, but the entire group managed to narrowly survive the massive onslaught that nearly closed in on them.
“Today we were riding in the Uintas, the snow was great up high and it was finally feeling like we had some base,” Penrose wrote, adding that he had been riding in that part of the mountains since he was 8 years old and was highly familiar with the conditions of the region.
“My brother and I were playing on the side of a hill in the a tree area where [we] have ridden 30-40 times in years past,” he continued.
“As I finished recording my brother playing in the pow, the mountain shook,” Penrose added.
“My original thought was… earthquake. Then it [hit] me, avalanche,” he said.
The terrifying event was also recorded by their friend Nate, who was accompanying them during the ordeal.
As the snow was barreling down the mountain, a man in the video can be heard screaming “Avalanche!”
“Oh sh*t, that’s coming to us,” the terrified man also said.
After Nate can be seen making a mad dash to pull away on his sled to escape the avalanche, the camera suddenly goes dark.
According to Penrose, his safety gear failed to deploy because it had not been turned on. However, he was still swept off his feet by the snow by about 20 yards and was basically “swimming” in the deluge.
Penrose was buried up to his chest in the snow before he fortunately was able to dig himself out. He then rescued his brother, who was buried just up to the top of his head.
“[Then] came the radio chatter,” Penrose said. “Where is everyone at? Was everyone okay? We didn’t realize it but the avalanche had triggered even bigger on the other side of trees where we were.”
Three other party members also managed to survive the terrifying event.
The avalanche was the second to strike in Utah on that day.
In Mill Creek Canyon, which lies halfway across the state from the Uinta Mountains, eight people from two separate were skiing back country before seven of them were struck by a massive avalanche.
Four of the skiers – two people from each group – were killed. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the skiers “were young Utahns who reveled in the state’s beauty, pursuing adventures from its ski slopes to its redrock country.”
CNN reports that the four deaths are the most recent in a series of recent deaths caused by avalanches across three states, with the latest deaths bringing the number of fatalities to nine.
Just last week, a man in Utah was killed after being caught in an avalanche near Park City Mountains Canyons Village, just a few miles from the Mill Creek avalanche.
Three other skiers, all local officials, were also killed in an avalanche in Colorado last Monday. Their bodies weren’t recovered until Wednesday.
Also on Wednesday, the body of a skier was recovered following an avalanche at the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire.
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