Controlled avalanches are usually triggered to prevent larger ones from occurring, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t free from danger.
Jesse Dahlberg was watching how explosive-using rail crews set off a series of small avalanches near the town of Field in southeastern British Columbia when he noticed a lone elk directly in the path of the next man-made snow tsunami.
Although he hoped the moose could escape the danger ahead, the animal was engulfed in a white wave as the avalanche circled it on its way down the mountainside.
“I didn’t know how big the avalanche was going to be, so I was hoping for the best … When I saw it, I thought there was no way the moose could survive,” Dahlberg said. CBC News. “That wall of snow caught up with that moose so fast and it just blew it.”
Enlisting the help of a friend, Dahlberg decided to drive to see if there was any chance that the moose had survived. After parking near where the moose fell, they followed a debris trail uphill.
Miraculously, Dahlberg I saw a part of the animal’s face peeking out from its snowy prison. The moose was also completely immobilized by the weight of the snow in which it was buried.
Once Dahlberg realized the moose was alive, he knew they would have to act quickly to get it out. He could only hope that none of his limbs had been fractured by the impact of the avalanche.
Dahlberg began digging with his hands and sent his friend back to his vehicle for a shovel.
Working steadily, it took them just 15 minutes to dig up the moose’s hind legs. Then, with a little suggestion, the hapless creature was able to make its way out of the snowdrift.
“I raised my arms and started cheering because I was so excited that he was alive,” Dahlberg said. “I was so happy.”
Rather than take flight, the forest dweller calmly stared at his rescuers as they left the scene as if saying a silent “thank you.”
To which Dahlberg could have correctly responded: “You are very wI raisedcome.”
(WARNING: Jesse’s video of the avalanche contains a lot of bad words.)
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