4 from Saratoga County Called Heroes after Witnessing Avalanche in the Alps
4 young men from Saratoga County are being hailed as heroes when, in a split second, a Christmas ski vacation to Austria turned catastrophic and they were there to help save lives!
This incredible story was detailed in a report from Newschannel 13's Kumi Tucker who not only caught up with the young men but also shared a harrowing video of the moment an avalanche swept up skiers on the mountain.
You can watch the video of the avalanche and see the interview by Newschannnel 13 below.
According to the report, 3 brothers from Malta, Erik, Troy, and Hans Gottman were on day 1 of a ski trip along with friend Tyler Osterhaut.
Not only did the Gottmann family of Malta get the video that proved crucial to emergency crews, but they also rushed to help dig out and rescue the buried skiers.
Erik, Troy, and Hans, with friend Tyler Osterhaut, were on their first day of a ski trip in Austria. - Newschannel 13
Hans Gottmann, 15, a Ballston Spa High School sophomore told Newschannel 13 that when he saw the avalanche sweeping up skiers well below them, he yelled out to his older brother.
“All I heard was my younger brother go, ‘there’s an avalanche!’ and he yelled it and we looked up and there was an avalanche just going down the hill,” said Troy Gottmann, 17, a Ballston Spa High School senior.
Fearing the worst, the young men made a quick decision to head down the mountain and assist in any way they could during the rare occurrence, putting their own safety on the back burner.
“When we got down there, there were people, their skis were obviously all tossed under the snow, some of them on top of the snow, their poles were gone as well, and one guy was actually buried,” said Erik Gottmann, 19, a sophomore at Virginia Military Institute to Newschannel 13
The boys told Newschannel 13 that the rocky and treacherous terrain made it difficult to get over to the skiers in need - one of whom was buried.
“When we got down there, there were people, their skis were obviously all tossed under the snow, some of them on top of the snow, their poles were gone as well, and one guy was actually buried,” said Erik Gottmann, 19, a sophomore at Virginia Military Institute told Newschannel 13.
Eventually, the 4 young men made their way to those in need and just started digging people out telling Newschannel 13 that what kept them going was " the fact that there could still be someone under the snow."
The boys feared that all of the skiers swept up might be dead.
But, in what is being called the "Miracle on Christmas", all ten people involved made it out alive!
“Kind of just relief,” Hans told the news station.