Two young cousins and their families in New York state had a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving after the boys were rescued from a pile of snow.

Elijah Martinez, 11, and Jason Rivera, 9, were building a snow fort Wednesday at 6 pm when a snow plow accidentally dumped a large load of snow on top of them. The boys lay next to each other under 7 feet of snow. Their heads were in an air pocket but ice encased the rest of them.

“I only saw his hoodie because it was glowing, glowing in the dark,” Elijah said. “The only thing he could move was one of his arms. That’s it.”

The boys’ family and friends began to worry after searching for them at 10 pm. They soon called the police. Both mothers walked past the snow pile the boys were trapped in while searching, but neither heard the boys screaming.

The police arrived and began searching. One officer found a shovel poking up from the snow and began to dig. He soon found the boys’ boots. About 30 family members, friends, police, and neighbors worked together to rescue the boys in the freezing weather.

At about 2 am, the boys were successfully pulled out and taken to the hospital for observation. They were cold, but seem to have recovered, saying they felt “good” Friday morning.

“It was Thanksgiving, a time to be with your family and friends, and they were all there with me trying to find my boys,” said Elijah’s mother, Aulix Martinez. “So I really want to thank them, thank everybody who jumped out and gave us shovels and just dug, dug and didn’t give up on looking for them.”

“What I seen last night showed common courtesy and decency,” Takiaya Stevens, a witness of the rescue, said. “They ran to every neighbor in my complex to try to get shovels for these little kids.”

The boys themselves wanted to thank rescuers as well. “I want to say, thank you … for the cop shovels to help us up, help us out of the snow,” Jason said while in the hospital. “I thank you for trying to help us … out of the snow and helping us two little kids.”


Besides writing, R. McKinley loves reading (especially historical fiction and science books), playing piano and flute, being involved in politics and community, working out, enjoying nature, and hanging out with four wonderful cats.