'It swallowed me up': Alta. man recounts crushing avalanche

An Alberta man is crediting his friends and his faith for helping him survive a crushing avalanche that broke his leg and forced him to spend a chilly night in the snow.

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Todd Wyatt and a group of friends were skiing near Lake Louise over the weekend when he says he heard a loud cracking noise, like a gunshot.

He looked up and saw a slab of snow barreling towards him.

Wyatt only made it a couple of steps before the snow beneath his feet dropped and the rush of powder began to pile on top of him with enough force to snap his leg.

"It broke my leg as it swallowed me up and poured over top of me and I was in the flow of the snow," he told CTV Calgary in a phone interview from his home in Lacomb, Alta.

Wyatt tried to manoeuvre himself so that he would have some space to breathe, and he shot his hand up so that his friends could find him as the snow settled.

"As it came to a stop I … took a deep breath, expanded my ribs so that I could at least have a breathing spot around my ribs," he said. "And at that last moment I kind of threw my left hand up in the air, I punched it out in front of my face and it came out on the surface."

Wyatt's friends helped dig him out and the group used a satellite phone to call for help. But rescuers couldn't access the site until morning.

The group spent the night on the mountain before a helicopter flew them out the next day.

Once he was off the slope, doctors in Banff, Alta. performed surgery on Wyatt's leg, adding screws into the lower part of the limb.

Wyatt is now safely back home and recovering from his injuries.

With files from CTV Calgary


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