Yakima Man Returns Home After Being Buried in an Avalanche - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Yakima Man Returns Home After Being Buried in an Avalanche

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YAKIMA, Wash-- A Yakima man returns home Thursday night after being buried alive while snowmobiling. After being pulled out of an avalanche he spent a week in the hospital.

Gene Knobel greets family and friends for the first time since his terrible snowmobile crash. He's lucky to be alive, 16 people have been swept away in avalanches near West Yellowstone this year. Knobel is the only one who lives to tell about it.

"It just went white and I was rolling, the snow, hitting trees and everything else. When I came to a stop I was buried and I could just barely stick my hand out," said Knobel.

Buried for 10 minutes his friends dug him out. He saw pictures for the first time tonight.

"I remember making this line right here, coming up and then all of a sudden just nothing," he said while looking over pictures of the avalanche site.

Knobel's friends pulled him down the hill. He has several broken ribs, a fractured cheek and some frost bite on his left hand. They were carrying avalanche beacons, something Knobel said everyone who goes snowmobiling should do.

"It wasn't a high avalanche risk day, but it was a high enough to where this happened," said Knobel.

Knobel said he's going to get back on the snowmobile. But, it will be a while before his bumps and bruises heal.