Utah Neffs Canyon avalanche: Off-duty firefighter rescues buried skier calling for help

Salt Lake City incident occurs as avalanche danger in Utah remains 'high,' police say

A Utah skier who police say was "buried up to his chest for about 45 minutes" following an avalanche has been rescued after an off-duty firefighter who happened to be in the same area heard his cries for help. 

The 35-year-old skier suffered a broken femur and arm injury Wednesday afternoon during the incident at Neffs Canyon outside of Salt Lake City, according to Unified Police Department Sgt. Melody Cutler.  

"He was buried up to his chest for about 45 minutes," Cutler told reporters at the scene. "As he was yelling for help, to his luck, there was a Unified firefighter, an EMT, who was out in the area recreating and heard his cries for help and was able to respond and dig him out." 

Cutler said the avalanche was about 200 feet wide and 1.5 to three feet deep. 

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Rescue crews in Utah managed to save a solo skier Wednesday after he was partially buried in an avalanche, police say.

Rescue crews in Utah managed to save a solo skier Wednesday after he was partially buried in an avalanche, police say. (iStock)

"If you are going to be found when you are injured, how lucky is that?" she said. 

The skier – who has not been publicly identified and was skiing by himself at the time of the avalanche – was removed from the area Wednesday night as rescue crews had to wait until weather conditions cleared up, Fox13 reports. 

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The EMT reportedly stayed with the man the entire time. 

"I mean the guy's a hero, it’s incredible, went skiing, it’s his day off, and he spent his whole day up there with this poor guy," Michael Finger, a squad leader with Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue, told Fox 13. 

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Cutler says there have been multiple avalanches in Salt Lake County and across the state of Utah in recent days. 

"The avalanche danger is high, we need to be paying attention to those things and what we’re doing, but the reality is this is just one of those things that happens in Mother Nature we can’t predict," she said.