GoPro Video Shows College Students Rescue Dog Buried Under Piles of Snow During Avalanche

Two Colorado college students have been hailed as heroes after they helped rescue a dog buried under piles of snow during an avalanche, and the dramatic event was caught on video.

Bobby White and Josh Trujillo told ABC News they were backcountry skiing in the Berthoud Pass area in Colorado when they saw an explosion of snow and realized an avalanche was building nearby.

The two skiers quickly scanned the area and encountered another group who said every person in their group was safe, but a dog had been caught and buried in a snow field roughly 300 yards long and 50 yards wide, Trujillo told ABC. The dog's owner, Scott Shepherd, said the animal triggered the avalanche when he ran away from the group on steep, rocky terrain.

Shepherd watched in horror as the 2-year-old Chesapeake Bay retriever named Apollo was swept over a cliff and disappeared into a flurry of snow.

"He started moving, and he just looked confused like, 'Why am I sliding down the hill?' And then he was just gone," Shepherd told ABC News.

Shepherd frantically skied to the area where he believed Apollo was swept to but struggled to find the dog, and instead encountered Trujillo. Once he explained the situation, Trujillo and White began using 8-foot-long probe poles to dig through the snow.

White, who had just purchased a GoPro helmet camera the day before, can be heard on video referring to the search as looking for a "needle in a haystack." The two college students continued scouring the area while Shepherd searched further up on the hill.

After about 20 minutes, White told Trujillo that the two should leave the area, fearing that they were probing through terrain that could trigger another avalanche. According to ABC News, avalanche rescues become dramatically more difficult if the victim is not uncovered in 15 minutes.

"I think we need to get out of here," White said in the video. "That dog is dead. This is why I don't like dogs in avalanche terrain to begin with. We're all like probing underneath the worst avalanche terrain in Berthoud right now."

But just as the two skiers were set to pack up and take up, Trujillo spotted Apollo's nose poking through the snow.

"I found him! I found him, I found him, I found him!" he screamed. "I can see him. He's still alive." Shepherd joined White and Trujillo and the group began digging frantically until Apollo was able to break free.

"There's no way I would have found him in time to get him out there because I was still way up the slope, making my way around," Shepherd told ABC News. "I think they saved his life, and I can never be grateful enough for that."

"Everybody knows that [backcountry skiing] is dangerous and everybody takes precautions. But just realizing how one stupid little mistake could have drastic consequences, it kind of drives it home." he continued. "It doesn't take much to steer off the course from safety to disaster."

Dog Rescued From Avalanche
Two college students have been hailed as heroes after they helped rescue a dog trapped in debris from an avalanche. This stock photo shows a mountain prone to avalanches. Getty Images/Getty Images