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‘Wasn’t our time’: 3 narrowly escape as snow fort collapses in N.S.

WATCH: Three people say they're lucky to be alive after a snow fort collapsed on them in Nova Scotia over the weekend. As Global's Natasha Pace reports, the family dog helped in the rescue.

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.”

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“The two kids, who were literally feet away from me, were screaming and there was nothing I could do to help them.”

Adam Inch (left), Steve Bayers and his son Ben are lucky to be alive after being trapped in a collapsed snow fort.
Adam Inch (left), Steve Bayers and his son Ben are lucky to be alive after being trapped in a collapsed snow fort. Cory McGraw/Global News

“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.”

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RELATED: Boy buried by snowbank collapse has died

“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.

“[Zoose] was the inspiration. I can’t say it enough.”
Steve Bayers says his dog Zoose helped to dig him free from a collapsed snow fort.
Steve Bayers says his dog Zoose helped to dig him free from a collapsed snow fort. Cory McGraw/Global News

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.

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“I heard the hollers of Steve and I just come over and started shoveling trying to get the kids out,” said Mansfield.

“Things could have turned a lot worse, but luckily everything is good.”

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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.

“I happen to be a structural engineer and my son was trapped in it,” said Adam’s father, Jimmie Inch. “When I calculated it out, there was probably 1,200 pounds [of snow] on top of each of them.”

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 collapsed snow fort left Steve Bayers with a twisted knee and broken fibula. His son received a minor concussion and injured shoulder.
The collapsed snow fort left Steve Bayers with a twisted knee and broken fibula. His son received a minor concussion and injured shoulder. Cory McGraw/Global News

The families are hoping sharing their near-fatal experience will help educate others about the dangers of snow forts, hopefully preventing future tragedy.

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“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.”

WATCH: New York boy’s death while playing in snowbank ‘can happen to anyone’

Police chief warns ‘it can happen to anyone’ after boy in New York dies in snowbank
Police chief warns ‘it can happen to anyone’ after boy in New York dies in snowbank