A day of outdoor fun turned into a near-fatal experience for three Nova Scotians this weekend, when a wall of snow crashed down around them, trapping them underneath its heavy weight.
Steve Bayers, his son Ben Bayers and his son’s friend, Adam Inch were building a snow fort in Lawrencetown, N.S. Saturday afternoon when the roof suddenly caved in.
“We were all trapped,” Steve said Monday. “I knew it was very serious when my arms were pinned underneath me and my leg, my heel was into my back and my foot was twisted up and I couldn’t get any of my limbs free.”
“The two kids, who were literally feet away from me, were screaming and there was nothing I could do to help them.”
“I didn’t know what happened,” Ben said. “I thought someone just jumped on me and then I realized the weight just kept gaining and gaining and that’s when I realized I couldn’t move and I started panicking.”
“It was pitch black and we heard everybody screaming and stuff, we were right beside each other, at the top of your lungs and couldn’t hear them very well,” Inch added.
‘Hero’ dog helped free father
The task of freeing themselves seemed absolutely impossible. That is until their ‘hero,’ Zoose the dog came to the rescue.
The five-year-old golden lab was outside playing in the snow too, and immediately starting working to dig Steve free from the snow.
“The dog dug in and started to pull the back of my jacket and I knew at that point, if I could get an arm or a leg free and get my leg untwisted, I had a chance of getting out and helping the kids,” Steve said.
Once he was able to get out from under the snow, Steve started yelling for help. That’s when neighbour Peter Mansfield, who was clearing snow nearby, came running.
“I heard the hollers of Steve and I just come over and started shoveling trying to get the kids out,” said Mansfield.
Victims escaped with a broken leg, concussion
The ordeal left Steve with a broken fibula and twisted knee. Ben received a minor concussion and has a sore shoulder. Physically, Adam escaped unharmed.
The three escapees and their families say they realize things could have turned out much differently, and feel thankful to be alive. They’re grateful for Zoose’s quick actions and for their neighbours rushing to their aid.
“It wasn’t my time. It wasn’t our time, I don’t know. I can’t explain it,” Steve said.
The families are hoping sharing their near-fatal experience will help educate others about the dangers of snow forts, hopefully preventing future tragedy.
“This isn’t our first snow fort. We’ve built tons of snow forts in the past and the goal is to get outside and do things with your kids and have fun, and this one just went wrong,” said Steve.
“It went wrong so fast that there was nothing anyone could do to stop it.”
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