A snowboarder who went viral after being found buried alive in heavy snow has spoken for the first time about his dramatic brush with death.
Ian Steger said he wanted to tell his fiancé how much he loved her after he became submerged in a tree well of snow in Washington State on March 3.
Steger was saved by chance after skier Francis Zuber spotted his board poking out of the snow in an astonishing clip that has since gone viral.
Viewers were left impressed by Steger’s calm response to having his life saved as he is heard telling Zuber: ‘Thanks for that, man.’
Now the two men have reunited on-screen to discuss the March 3 incident.
‘You can see in that video that Francis was asking if I was okay.’ Steger told ABC7.
‘He was letting me know he was coming up to me. I didn’t hear any of that.
‘It was complete darkness. I could only hear, you know, the sound of my own breathing.’
Experts have said that Steger would have died had he not been uncovered by Zuber.
‘One of the things that I was thinking about while I was down there was like, wow, like, I’m going to die down here,’ Steger said.
‘And I’m not going to be able to, you know, tell my fiancé how much I love her.’
The snowboarder was trapped in a tree well in the Mt Baker Ski Area.
Zuber was skiing in the same part when he started to catch himself in deep powder.
In the video clip, he is seen quickly saving himself before he spots a snowboard sticking out of the deep snow.
Recounting the experience to ABC7, Zuber said: ‘I caught this little flash of red out of the corner of my eye.
‘And I knew it was kind of a weird thing to see because we’re out of bounds. I knew something was wrong. You know, I yelled up to him, and no response.’