Saturday, December 29, 2007

Incredible story - Boy Survives Avalanche

Max Zilvitis was entombed by an avalanche Sunday. When rescuers found the 11-year-old and dug him out, Max's body had turned blue, he had stopped breathing and he had no pulse.

Max, however, has come back to life and the spunky kid is already asking his mother where he left his ski pass.

"Good Morning America" got an exclusive interview with Max and his family from their home in Park City, Utah, today.

"I remember I was going down a run called North Face and I got stuck in a little bit of powder at the bottom of the run, and then I heard my dad shout 'avalanche' and then I looked and there was an avalanche and it hit me and then I remember being under the snow for a little bit, but then I lost consciousness and then I woke up in the hospital," said Max.

Miraculous Rescue
Max's father, Brian, was buried at first too.

"I remember the snow building up across my legs and building up my lower back and I think I was buried up about to my waist. I don't really remember getting out, I just remember wanting to find Max," said Brain. As soon as he got out, he immediately called 911 to get help for his son.

"God, please help out! I need to look for him before it's too late! Please & Max, say something! My son is under there!" Brian can be heard shouting while on the phone with the emergency operator.

"I looked around and had the worst feeling in the world. It was all the moments I've shared with Max and all the conversations we were having and to think that they were going to end right there was just  it was just crushing," said Brian.

Somewhere under nearly five feet of snow Max was buried alive. Within minutes ski patrol and a line of volunteers began frantically searching for signs of a body. At last, after 33 minutes, a 16-year-old's pole touched something.

"I said I feel something and the ski patrollers came and we were digging him out and we found him and it was really scary," said Emily Loughlin, the teen whose pole found Max.

Body: Cold and Blue
Max was pulled out unconscious and not breathing.

"He had no heart rate when he was found. It's very fortunate that he survived and not only done that, but that he's done so well," said Dr. Brad Poss, professor of pediatrics at the University of Utah.

"I was ecstatic to see him, that we had found him, but he was very bluish and he wasn't conscious. They worked to pull him out of the snow and they, you know, immediately started to give him some CPR. I could get his hand and I held on to his hand and I was blowing on it because it was so cold," said Brian.

Max had gone into hypothermia and instead of raising his body temperature back up completely they kept it down to preserve his brain.

Speedy Recovery
Despite his near-death experience, Max is eager to get back on the slopes. When he got home from the hospital he asked his mom where his ski pass was. "I couldn't believe it & but if he can be that brave then I certainly have to be that brave too, so we'll all go out skiing as a family again very soon, as soon as Max gets the OK from the doctors," said Max's mom, Samantha.

"I'm doing great. & I can't get on [the slopes] for a little while, but I have a feeling I'll be on pretty soon," said Max with a smile.

The Zilvitises wanted to say a heartfelt thank you to all the doctors, nurses and ski patrol that worked to help save Max.

"We love you guys. It was absolutely incredible. From the moment that they received Max, the care and the way they treated them was superb and absolutely we send our love and our thanks," said Samantha.

Source [ABC]

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