"I thought we were going to die": Family recalls rescue from Colorado avalanche

Family survives Colorado avalanche
Family survives Colorado avalanche 02:15

Frisco, Colo. — The avalanche danger in Colorado is being called "extreme" and "unprecedented." Heavy snow triggered more than 2,000 avalanches in the state so far this season. Seven backcountry skiers have been killed, including one on Thursday.

On the same day, another avalanche buried cars and trapped several people. Inside one blue car was Sergio and Karla Reyes, along with 2-year-old Vanessa.

"I thought we were going to die," Sergio Reyes said.

With snow pouring in, Vanessa disappeared.

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Sergio and Karla Reyes, with 2-year-old Vanessa, speak with CBS News' David Begnaud. CBS News

"The back of the seat was full of snow. He couldn't see her at all so he was digging and digging. I was panicking because I couldn't take my seat belt off," Karla Reyes said. "We were scared no one would hear us yell or scream, because we were screaming."

A passing state trooper helped pull them out.

Just in the past week, Colorado has seen over 300 avalanches with a level of danger not been seen in decades. On Sunday, dash cam video caught an avalanche as it plowed across I-70 west of Denver. Remarkably, no one was hurt.

Then the Colorado Department of Transportation triggered what it thought would be a small avalanche to mitigate the risk. Instead, it exploded in size, and a 300-foot wave buried the whole highway.

Now, more snow is on its way Friday night and Saturday.

  • David Begnaud
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    David Begnaud is the lead national correspondent for "CBS This Morning" based in New York City.