Sunday – Police said a skier,21-year-old man was buried beneath an avalanche for 17 hours in the Swiss Alps before being pulled from the snow with only mild hypothermia.

He was trapped next to a pocket of air that allowed him to breathe even though he was unable to free himself from the crushing weight of the snow. Police in the southern canton of Valais said, “It’s already very difficult to survive more than 45 minutes beneath an avalanche.”

Dozens of skiers are killed by avalanches in the Swiss Alps each year. Last month, a series of avalanches killed six people in central Switzerland, the country’s worst such disaster in more than a decade.

“He’s a very lucky man, ” police said.