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August 1, 2014

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Boy buried by avalanche tried to bite his way out

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The Missoulian, Tom Bauer / AP

Rescuers dig frantically at the scene of an avalanche in Missoula’s Rattlesnake Valley on Friday, Feb. 28, 2014, looking for a boy buried in the snow.

NEW YORK — An 8-year-old western Montana boy who spent about an hour buried in the snow after a deadly avalanche roared into his backyard says he tried to "lick and bite" his way out before becoming tired and falling asleep.

Phoenix Scoles-Coburn, of Missoula, told "Today" show host Matt Lauer on Friday that he doesn't remember the moment the Feb. 28 snow slide hit him.

He says he looked back and saw a tree wobbling, so he ran. The next thing he knew, he was in the snow.

Phoenix's mother, Erin Scoles, says dozens of residents responded quickly with shovels and avalanche probes, but it took an hour to find the boy.

Phoenix suffered a laceration to his spleen and was hospitalized for two days.

The avalanche also buried a husband and wife. They also eventually were rescued, but the woman died in a hospital two days later.

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