Snowboarder films airbag saving him from terrifying avalanche

On Wednesday, a snowboarder in Whistler, British Columbia, recorded the terrifying moment that he had to deploy an airbag to stay on top of a massive avalanche in the backcountry:

That video comes from Tom Oye, a native of Adelaide, Australia, who — according to Adelaide’s Ten Eyewitness News — moved to Whistler to immerse himself in the mountain lifestyle.

The noise you hear in the background of the video is an inflatable airbag backpack designed to help snowboarders and skiers ride on top of snow slides.

RELATED: Skier posts video of himself getting caught in avalanche as a warning

Airbag avalanche backpacks are a fairly new technology that are becoming increasingly prevalent in the backcountry as they’ve been shown to help avalanche survival rates.

As it turns out, it was only by a stroke of luck that the 29-year-old Oye had an airbag on him: Oye’s family told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) that they all chipped in to buy him one for Christmas.

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The scary moment Oye triggered the massive snow slide.

“It was a lot of money but, my God, it saved his life. It could have been a million dollars but it would have been worth it,” Oye’s grandmother told the news station. “The gods smiled down upon him.”

Marlene Oye also noted that it wasn’t the first time Oye has put his family through a slight amount of grief: She told ABC that Oye has always been a bit of a daredevil, and that just 18 months ago he broke his leg snowboarding.

“I knew when I watched [the footage] that he was alright, so that wasn’t quite so bad,” Marlene Oye told the ABC . “Having seen him come off motorbikes and that sort of thing, you know, you’re a bit prepared I guess. But it was a bit scary.”

Oye’s family gave an emotional interview to Ten Eyewitness News in Adelaide expressing their relief that their son was okay:

 
While Oye has yet to comment to any news outlets on the event, in a now-viral post on Facebook showing the footage, he simply wrote, “Not how I planned on starting the morning.”

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