LOCAL NEWS

Video captures snowmobilers rescue man buried alive in Utah County avalanche

Jan 19, 2024, 10:56 PM | Updated: Jan 20, 2024, 10:27 am

AMERICAN FORK — A group of snowmobilers in American Fork Canyon showed true heroism as they banded together to rescue a man trapped in an avalanche.

Dustin Sweeten, a seasoned snowmobiler with over 50 years of experience, said the group was in the right place at the right time.

Saturday afternoon a group of snowmobilers triggered the avalanche. The snow carried three of the men away, burying one man completely. His group had no idea where he was. Luckily that’s when Dustin and his group stopped to ask if everyone was OK.

Urgency of the situation

As soon as they learned someone was buried the group pulled out their beacons, miraculously they stopped at the spot the man was buried.

Sweeten described the urgency of the situation as rescuers dropped to their knees, working swiftly to free the trapped man who had been buried for over six minutes.

“The snow was packed in his helmet against his mouth and nose and everything we had to physically clear out so he could breathe,” Sweeten told KSL TV in an exclusive interview.

Sweeten, also the owner of a powersports shop in Utah County, unknowingly had a personal connection to the victim. A man whom he has known for more than 35 years.

The emotional weight of the situation heightened as they successfully cleared the densely packed snow around the man’s helmet.

Facing challenges, including the victim’s skin turning purple, the rescuers persevered. Finally, three men were able to pull him out of the snow.

Time nearly ran out

“He said I don’t think I could have lasted another 30 seconds he had already blacked out,” Sweeten said.

After pulling him out they started a fire to warm the man up and then it took them two hours to get him safely off the mountain.

As the group was recalling what had happened Sweeten’s son realized he had inadvertently captured the rescue in a video.

Reflecting on the experience, Sweeten underscored the importance of preparedness in unpredictable outdoor environments.

Sweeten believes this serves as a powerful reminder of the unpredictable nature of the outdoors and the vital role preparedness plays in ensuring safety for oneself and others.

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

A married couple was found dead in an American Fork home on Thursday....

Michael Houck

American Fork police rule married couple deaths as murder-suicide

Police have released the identities of the married couple found dead in American Fork Thursday and are ruling it was a murder-suicide. 

32 minutes ago

...

Pat Reavy, KSL.com

Southern Utah woman charged with aggravated murder; prosecutors won’t seek death penalty

A 28-year-old woman accused of brutally killing her parents in their home is now facing 11 felony charges, including 10 first-degree felonies.

1 hour ago

utah county sheriff...

Michael Houck

Mudslide impacts traffic on Diamond Fork Canyon, sheriff’s office says

A mudslide is affecting traffic on Diamond Fork Road, making it difficult for travelers to get out of the canyon Friday afternoon.

2 hours ago

1 of 6Medina Reyes, Jorge Rafael SO#426266 Mug2021.jpg Jorge Rafael Medina-Reyes, 21, believed to b...

Emily Ashcraft, KSL.com

Second man pleads guilty to kidnapping, murder of Kearns woman in 2021

A second man has pleaded guilty to kidnapping and murdering Nicole Solario-Romero, a woman whose abduction near her Kearns home in 2021 was caught on a doorbell camera.

3 hours ago

The La Sal Mountains are pictured at sunset as seen from Moab on Friday, Sept. 17, 2021. (Spenser H...

Daniel Woodruff

Grand County official gave employee ‘safe word’ to use in uncomfortable conversations, complaint alleges

The Grand County human resources director has resigned her position amid allegations that she retaliated against an employee who complained about harassment.

3 hours ago

Rowers from Utah Crew travelled to Sarasota, Florida, to compete in the USRowing Youth National Cha...

Alexander Campbell

Facing adversity, a local youth rowing team places top ten nationally

In a small canal near California Avenue in Salt Lake City, a team of high school rowers has trained for racing at the national level.

4 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Video captures snowmobilers rescue man buried alive in Utah County avalanche