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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Hit by an avalanche, trapped inside a car and taking selfies.
A Dallas native is alive after he was engulfed by snow in the mountains of north California.
“There’s like a brief whoosh and then we were surrounded in white,” describes Neale Shutler of the moment the avalanche hit.
Traveling in a car with his friend David Ortiz, the two were blindsided around 1 a.m. Monday morning while driving along Highway 89.
“After we weren’t dead right off the bat, we figured we were probably good for a couple of hours,” says Shutler.
The two men decided to shut the engine off of their vehicle to avoid the threat of carbon monoxide.
Somehow, they still had phone service up in the mountains and quickly called 911.
“I guess I’m glad we had phone reception and stayed in the car because if it had slid again and we tried to dig out of the car, we definitely would be dead,” says Shutler.
To pass the time, they started posting videos on Facebook.
After about an hour and a half, rescuers found Shutler and Ortiz and dug them out from beneath 8-to-12 feet of snow.
“I’m super happy to be alive,” says Shutler.
His parents, Katie and David Shutler, were also relieved to hear their son is okay.
“I guess I just was ‘hallelujahing.’ It was like, ‘wow,’ ” says Katie Shutler.
Katie and David Shutler caught up with their son via Facetime from their home in North Dallas.
“You pray as a parent for the protection of your kids and sometimes they’re answered,” said David Shutler.
Neale Shutler says having survived an avalanche gives him a new respect for the power of Mother Nature.
“We got to experience that and walk away unscratched,” says Neale Shutler. “That’s ridiculous, but those were the cards we got last night.”
Ironically, Shutler’s parents gave him an “avalanche tracker” for Christmas.
While he did not have it with him at the time, Shutler said he will not go anywhere without it from now on when it is snowing.
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