A couple from New Mexico, buried under a snowdrift, 12 feet high, are happy to be alive this week after spending a terrifying 20 hours entombed in their car Saturday night and into Sunday. The region only received approximately one foot of snow, but 65 mph winds whipped up enormous snowdrifts near Clovis, New Mexico, forcing a couple to ride out the storm in their Ford Fusion.
Reports The Associated Press on Dec. 29, via MSN News: “Crews worked to clear snow-covered roads Tuesday after a record winter storm trapped a New Mexico couple in a 12-foot snow drift for almost 20 hours, forced four newspapers to suspend publication and prompted authorities to deliver a baby in a snow-bound Texas home.”
Jimmy Anderson, 55, and his wife Betty Anderson, 54, were on their weekly, 50-mile paper route delivering the Sunday edition of the Clovis News Journal. They set out Saturday night around 8 p.m., despite warnings of an upcoming storm system. A half-hour into their route, they were trapped in the ditch of a rural road with snow quickly piling up and over their car. The couple was not rescued until Sunday at 4 p.m.
“I was trying to keep my wife calm and not scare her,” Jimmy Anderson said. “I was worried,” Betty added. “I didn’t know if we could make it.”
According to NBC News, the Andersons were not too anxious at first. They called 911 using their cellphone and were told they would be rescued within a few hours.
“We have a country route and a town route,” Betty said, describing their paper route. “We started on the country route and we delivered five papers before we decided it was getting bad and we should turn around and try the next day.”
“It kind of dumped on us in the middle of the road,” Jimmy said of the storm, which ended up being the worst storm to hit the New Mexico area in two decades. “Between the wind and the snow, you couldn’t see a thing.”
However, things took a turn for the worse as rescue crews tried to find the buried car. An all-terrain military vehicle was unable to rescue the Andersons, and later a fire crew also had to turn back. Shortly after midnight, their Fusion stopped running, and they lost their only source of heat on a night when temps dropped to 18 degrees Fahrenheit.
“They wound up getting 3/4-mile away, but the drive shaft went out on them,” Jimmy said of the emergency military vehicle. “They also sent firemen to help us, and one fireman almost got lost because he couldn’t see in the snow.”
Bill Kshir, the assistant director of the Clovis Public Works Department, finally took his own truck and followed behind a Public Works bulldozer and a road grader. “The road grader and my truck got stuck a few times,” he said. “We made it up to where they were buried. I was talking to Jimmy on the phone and Jimmy was telling me, ‘I can hear you guys.’ He guided us in by sound. But we ran the risk of running over the car.”
A few hours later, with the assistance of a nearby resident and his John Deere tractor, the Andersons were pulled from their car.
“I started banging on the ceiling and window and honking the horn,” Jimmy said. “They heard me banging. They’d seen a strange snow formation. That’s how they knew it was us. They would never have found us if not for that. It was an act of God.”
The New Mexico couple were treated at the hospital before being sent home.