2 kids recovering in Newburgh after plow buries them under snow

NEWBURGH (WABC) -- New York police believe two boys trapped in a snow pile in the Hudson Valley for several hours after a plow buried them were able to survive thanks to an air pocket in the heavy, wet snow.

The two boys were underneath, where it not only was it pitch black, but when their parents and police were standing right next to the pile, they couldn't hear the boys screaming their lungs out for help.

"There was a big block of ice on my chest so I couldn't move," said Jason Rivera, 9 years old.

"I punched at it to try to break at it, but I punched it so much that it was starting to fall and he said it was going to land on his face so I stopped punching it," said Elijah Martinez, 11 years old.

That was just one more unlucky strike for these two cousins, buried in a mountain of snow for at least six hours on Thanksgiving evening.

Cell phone video shows the whole neighborhood racing against the clock to dig them out.

"I was thinking me and my cousin were going to die," Rivera said.

It was the first snowfall of the season and 11-year-old Elijah Martinez and 9-year-old Jason Rivera set out to build a snow fort like the always do.

That's until a snow plow in a parking lot made three passes by their igloo, unknowingly burying the boys alive.

"We were out for a few minutes and the whole top of the fort just fell on us," Rivera said.

It was so much snow; they couldn't move their legs at all. But they kept each other from falling asleep with their survival instincts kicking in.

All the while, they were in plain sight right across the street from their apartment in Newburgh, New York, where their families, police and K-9's were all trying to figure out where they were.

"I walked by that snow bank three or four times yelling...I didn't hear them," said Deirdre Kirk, Elijah's mother.

Around 2 a.m., Officer Brandon Rola spotted a small shovel near this snow pile. He starting digging and a child's boot appeared.

"The boot moved and then it was just a frantic effort to dig these children out, you're talking about a seven or eight foot snow pile, taller than me," said Officer Brandon Rola, of the Newburgh Police Department.

At 2 a.m. Friday, the two boys were pulled out alive. They suffered from exposure to the cold.

The boys are still in the hospital under observation. They say this is the last time they'll ever build a snow fort.

The snow plow operator would have had no knowledge that the boys were on the other side of the bank.


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