Rescuer narrowly escaped death searching for Rainier snowboarders

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by LINDA BRILL / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on November 14, 2012 at 7:49 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 14 at 9:04 PM

It was a life and death struggle on the slopes of Mount Rainier.  Two snowboarders were found after spending two bone-chilling nights on the  mountain. And, how they were spotted is an amazing story.

"It was a bit of a cluster, but it worked," said Seattle firefighter and Mountain Rescue volunteer, Josh McBride.

McBride was one of nearly 20 searchers on the mountain on Monday.

"I was very concerned about going over the top of the cliff. I had almost resigned that's what was going to happen," he said.

During the search, McBride took a wrong step and was swept up in an avalanche. He just missed rolling off a cliff as he tumbled nearly 300 feet in a couple of seconds. 

"That's faster than I can ski," he said.

Was it luck?

McBride pulled himself out of the avalanche and spotted the missing snowboarders.

"I yelled their names, they stopped, turned around and waved," he said.

Rescuers don't usually talk publicly about their missions, but McBride wants to bring attention to the support that mountain volunteers need.

"The driving force is there is nobody else up there to help you. That's it," he said.

Mountain rescue volunteers pay for their own equipment, vehicles and gas.

Will he do another rescue mission?

"Yes, but I didn't tell my wife about the avalanche. It might be my last one!" he said with a smile.
 

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