Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published March 7, 2014 at 10:24 AM | Page modified March 8, 2014 at 12:26 AM

  • Share:
           
  • Comments (4)
  • Print

Boy buried by avalanche tried to bite his way out

An 8-year-old western Montana boy who spent about an hour buried in the snow after a deadly avalanche roared into his backyard says he tried to "lick and bite" his way out before becoming tired and falling asleep.


Most Popular Comments
Hide / Show comments
He's a fighter and a survivor! Love that he didn't give up MORE
Snowboarders!!!! Ugh MORE
within 10 seconds, there was probably a dozen people with shovels," she told Lauer... MORE

advertising

NEW YORK —

An 8-year-old western Montana boy who spent about an hour buried in the snow after a deadly avalanche roared into his backyard says he tried to "lick and bite" his way out before becoming tired and falling asleep.

Phoenix Scoles-Coburn, of Missoula, told "Today" show host Matt Lauer on Friday that he doesn't remember the moment the Feb. 28 snow slide hit him. He was playing outside with his 10-year-old sister, Coral, when they heard a noise.

"I looked back, and the tree was wobbling so I ran, and the next thing I knew I was in the snow," the boy said.

Phoenix said he had a bit of an air pocket.

"I tried to lick and like bite my way out because I was too close together to get my hands out," he said. "Then I got so tired, I just fell asleep."

Phoenix's mother, Erin Scoles, said the avalanche sounded like an "airplane crashing in my ears."

"I saw the avalanche hit them, and then I couldn't see anything, and then I ran out the door and seriously, within 10 seconds, there was probably a dozen people with shovels," she told Lauer. "Then a minute later, there were 50 people. It was amazing."

Coral said she was able to quickly get herself out of the snow and ran to her mother, who was yelling for her.

Phoenix suffered a laceration to his spleen and was hospitalized for two days.

The avalanche also buried a couple when it hit and destroyed their house in a residential area at the base of Mount Jumbo. Michel Colville and her husband, retired University of Montana professor Fred Allendorf, also eventually were rescued and hospitalized.

Colville died of her injuries two days later. Allendorf remained hospitalized.

Colville's daughter, Charis Patterson, told KTMF-TV in Missoula that her stepfather suffered severe injuries including 17 broken ribs, a fractured sternum, a fractured foot and three fractured vertebrae in his lower back.

Authorities believe the avalanche was triggered by a snowboarder.



Want unlimited access to seattletimes.com? Subscribe now!

News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon

Universal preschool for all?

Universal preschool for all?

Get schooled on universal preschool before you vote on it in November. Read our 3-part Education Lab series.

Advertising

Partner Video

Advertising


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►