Avalanche Survivor Describes Ordeal - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Avalanche Survivor Describes Ordeal

Courtesy: Dan Zucker Courtesy: Dan Zucker
Courtesy: Dan Zucker Courtesy: Dan Zucker
Courtesy: U.S. Forest Service Courtesy: U.S. Forest Service
Courtesy: Dan Zucker Courtesy: Dan Zucker
Courtesy: Dan Zucker Courtesy: Dan Zucker

Danville, Vermont - April 16, 2009

Dan Zucker, 46, took the ride of a lifetime this past Saturday.

He and a friend were hiking up Dodge's Drop on Mount Washington when the chunk of snow he was standing on suddenly broke loose, creating an avalanche.

"I went shooting by Tim and I just shouted out I'm going down for the ride and I was hoping he would just remain on the mountain and help them find my body. I didn't think there was any way to survive it," Zucker said.

Dodge's Drop is commonly known as a no-fall route, which means you can't survive a fall.

Zucker's friend, Tim Finocchio, was also caught up in the slide.

The two tumbled several hundred feet down the mountain, flying over boulders and rocks at estimated speeds of 40 mph.

"It's more like being flushed down a toilet, everything sort of goes in the same direction," Zucker said.

Zucker says there was no time to panic.

He lost one ice ax almost immediately and tried to use the other to slow his fall.

That didn't work.

Both men went airborne, off a cliff and into the trees.

"This is normally where your brains explode and I literally had the thought that, so, the way I'm going to die is not getting bashed against the rocks, it's going to be taken apart limb by limb in the trees," Zucker said.

After what seemed like an eternity, Zucker and Finocchio finally came to a rest just six feet apart.

Finocchio was screaming-- passing in and out of consciousness.

"I honestly didn't know if he was just in shock or if he was dying," Zucker said.

Zucker thought he was missing body parts.

"I didn't know if my spine was broken," he said. "I had struck my head on a tree and was bleeding profusely, I had thought I'd lost part of my skull, so I actually felt for it."

Miraculously, both men walked away from the avalanche with only minor injuries.

Zucker broke his pinky and Finocchio had skin ripped off his hands and arms.

But both are thankful to be alive and walking-- survivors of an event few live to talk about.

Keagan Harsha - WCAX News

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