Two US boys whose parents became alarmed when they did not come home from playing in the snow were found hours later buried in a snow bank.
Officials say a snowplough operator in Newburgh, New York, who was moving snow did not realise they were there.
The authorities say the parents of the boys, aged nine and 11, called police just before midnight local time on Wednesday. The children had been out, possibly trying to build a snow fort.
Newburgh police Officer Brandon Rola found a shovel near the snow bank, and began digging as the others joined in. Officer Rola noticed one of the boys’ small boots as he shoveled around the mound of snow.
“Fortunately, they were alive and well, and the police got a big round of applause,” he said.
The boys - cousins Jason “J.J.” Rivera, 9, Elijah “Papito” Martinez, 11 - were found around 2am yesterday.
They were conscious and suffering from exposure. The boys were taken to the hospital, where one remains under observation.
Authorities say a snowplough operator had been clearing a car park by pushing snow over, and did not see the boys on the other side of the pile. The boys were buried by enuogh snow to prevent them moving their arms and legs.
“They were probably in about five feet of snow,” said Newburgh police Sgt. Aaron Weaver. “But how ever it fell, there was, like, a dome around their heads, so there was air in there, like space for them.”