U.S. snowboarder and surfer Brock Crouch survived an avalanche which buried him alive for five minutes and broke three vertebrae.
According to social media posts from his older brother and USA Surfing, Crouch was swept off an 80-foot cliff while riding in the backcountry in Canada on Sunday.
Mike Glennie, Crouch’s older brother, wrote on Instagram that Crouch broke his T12, L1 and L2 vertebrae, lost teeth and hurt his face.
Crouch, 18, is also on the U.S. Surf Team.
USA Surfing wrote on Facebook that Crouch’s arms and legs are “working” and that he had no apparent internal injuries.
“I know you stared death in the face yesterday brother but you also lived to talk about it,” Glennie wrote. “Bad things happen to good people and we will never know why, just know you’ve got an army of love and support and an older brother who loves the shit out of you. Heal up.”
Steve Ruff, Crouch’s agent, said Crouch had X-rays on Wednesday morning and is awaiting results of an MRI.
In photos on Crouch’s Instagram story, Crouch held up a peace sign from his hospital bed. Photos with pro snowboarders John Jackson and Cam FitzPatrick credited both with saving Crouch.
Jackson wrote on Instagram that the avalanche swept Crouch down “multiple rock bands,” adding that the snowboarder was buried for four or five minutes before he was rescued.
“Crazy how a situation like this can surprise you so quickly,” Jackson wrote. “I’m so glad the whole crew performed a rockstar rescue and Brock is strong enough to handle what he went down. Especially thankful for our pilot Josh, who didn’t waste a second in the situation. I was so impressed with this kids talent while we were riding all morning and know he will come back with a fury to continue getting after it.”
Crouch won the FIS World Cup in 2016 that served as a test event for the Pyeongchang Olympic venue. The Carlsbad, Calif., native has competed in three X Games, finishing as high as seventh in slopestyle in his debut in 2017.
Crouch is good friends with Olympic slopestyle gold medalist Red Gerard, who wrote on Instagram on Tuesday, “Some crazy stuff has gone down in the last 24 hours and I am just so happy my best friend is still here with us."