An elk survived an avalanche after being rescued by a nearby observer.
Jesse Dahlberg was watching railroad avalanche control crews use explosives to start relatively small avalanches near Field British Columbia. He noticed a lone elk was in the path of one of the avalanches. He hoped the elk might outrun the snow. But it was engulfed as the avalanche came down around it.
“I didn’t know how big the avalanche was going to be so I was hoping for the best. When I saw it, I thought there’s no way that elk is going to survive.” Dahlberg told CBC. “That wall of snow caught up to that elk so fast and just blasted it.”
Dahlberg decided to go see if there was a chance the elk survived an avalanche. After parking close to where the elk was last seen he and a friend followed debris uphill. Miraculously, Dahlberg saw a portion of the animal’s face peering out from the snow. The elk was trapped and immobilized in the avalanche debris.
Once Dahlberg found that the elk was alive he knew they’d have to act quickly. He began digging with his handsand sent his friend back to the vehicle for a shovel. It took only 15 minutes to dig the elk’s back legs free. Then, with a little prompting, the critter was able to shake its way clear and climb out of the snow.
“I put my arms up and started cheering because I was so excited that it was alive,” Dahlberg said. “I was so happy.” Rather than take flight, the forest denizen calmly gazed at them as they left the scene as if saying a silent “thank you.”