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Air bag saves avalanche victim

An avalanche that was caught on video dragged a backcountry skier into a Utah ravine and buried her in snow. But the woman survived because she deployed a special air bag, and other skiers were able to quickly dig her out, witnesses said Tuesday.

Joe Campanelli was using his iPhone on Monday to record the Wasatch mountains when the skier descended into a steep gully near the Alta ski area outside Salt Lake City. Campanelli abruptly stopped recording to help rescue the skier, who declined to give her name. She was buried in several feet of snow.

It was the first avalanche rescue this season, and the woman is lucky to be alive and uninjured, said Bruce Tremper of the Utah Avalanche Center. Utah averages about four avalanche fatalities a year, he said. - AP