OPHIR, Colo. – Two brothers survived two massive avalanches while skiing in Colorado's backcountry even though both feared the other was dead.
Alex and Brian Holmes were skiing near Telluride, from Trout Lake to Ophir, on Wednesday.
Brian Holmes, 26, started to descend from the top of the Fatwa area near Waterfall Canyon when he triggered an avalanche, KUSA-TV reported Thursday.
Brian Holmes saw the avalanche sweep his brother out of sight.
When Alex Holmes, 27, tried to ski down, he triggered a second slide. He returned for help, believing Brian — who was 1,000 feet down in the slide —was dead.
The San Miguel County Sheriff's Office says Brian landed on his back and was mostly buried in snow, with only his face and one arm exposed. It took him 10 to 15 minutes to escape. He searched for an hour for his brother, who he feared was dead.
Alex had contacted search and rescue personnel, who launched a helicopter and sent out Telluride Ski Patrollers with a trained avalanche dog.
During the search, dispatchers received a call from Brian's phone. They say they heard someone breathing, but never spoke to anyone.
Brian made it back to Ophir, the sheriff's office said. He was injured but is expected to survive.