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

Singer and Actress Kristin Chenoweth, right, and Mary-Mitchell Campbell perform during RootsTech at...

Collin Leonard, KSL.com

RootsTech: A ‘wicked’ Broadway finale, plus message from late church Apostle M. Russell Ballard

On the final day of the RootsTech 2024 conference, attendees braved a windstorm to listen to Broadway actor Kristin Chenoweth speak about faith, family and her experience as an adopted child.

25 minutes ago

Show in Smithfield...

Mary Culbertson

Winter storm alert still active for central and northern Utah, caution advised

Utah saw the forces of dangerous winds on Saturday, but meteorologists say the caution should continue into Sunday.

51 minutes ago

lights on top of a police vehicle in the dark...

Mary Culbertson

1 teen critical after gun fired in McDonald’s parking lot

One teenager is in critical condition after a gun went off inside a car, hitting the teen.

4 hours ago

Nikki Haley joins Sunday Edition to share her vision and values, principles and policies with the v...


Sunday Edition: Nikki Haley

Nikki Haley joins Sunday Edition to share her vision and values, principles and policies with the voters of Utah ahead of Super Tuesday.

5 hours ago

A photo of a tree blown over in a park in a Nephi from high winds on March 2, 2024, (Craig Oswald)...

Brianna Chavez

Strong winds leave behind damage across Utah

From uprooted trees to flying trampolines, most of the state experienced strong wind gusts that left behind damage for many.

17 hours ago

yellow tape crossing blue and red lights...

Mark Jones

18-year-old arrested for alleged involvement in a shooting death of another person

A 18-year-old man has been taken into custody by police in connection to a shooting late Friday night in South Salt Lake that left one person dead.

20 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

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.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Video captures snowmobilers rescue man buried alive in Utah County avalanche