Home / National News / Tragedy Strikes Small NY Town When Boy Dies After Being Buried in Snow


(GREENWICH, N.Y.) — A 13-year-old boy in upstate New York who was building a snow fort died on Tuesday after being buried alive in snow, police said.

The boy, identified as Joshua J. Demarast of Greenwich, New York, a seventh-grader at Greenwich Junior-Senior High School, ventured on Tuesday afternoon to an area in the town where snow is frequently dumped, Greenwich Police Chief George Bell said. While he was playing there, the boy became trapped, Bell said.

Demarast and a friend of his were playing at the dumping site, digging tunnels, when a truck dropped off snow it had plowed, Bell told ABC News Wednesday, adding that the snow was then pushed over onto the boys without the driver’s knowing that they were there.

Buried alive, the two boys remained trapped under the snow for hours as police and rescue workers struggled to free them Tuesday evening, police said.

Police received a call for two missing boys around 5 p.m., and a K-9 unit was employed, police said. A dog located a sled the boys took with them, and the digging began. Demarast was found unresponsive under the snow and died shortly after 10 p.m., police said.

Bell said that he spoke to the survivor of the tragedy this morning and that the boy was recovering from the incident.

Demarast’s family suffered two deaths on Tuesday, according to Bell, who said the boy’s grandmother also passed away, at around 3 p.m.

“His family is dealing with both losses,” Bell said.

Mark Fish, the superintendent of Greenwich Central School District, described Demarast at a news conference today as a good student who was well liked and loved the outdoors.

Fish, speaking to ABC News Wednesday, described his district as “small and rural” and a “place where everybody knows just about everybody.”

Counselors were made available to students in the wake of the tragedy, he said, and after-school programs were canceled because they didn’t feel appropriate, given the shock surrounding Demarast’s death.

Greenwich, in upstate New York near the border with Vermont, is no stranger to snowfall, but the town received only 4 or 5 inches earlier this week, Bell said.

School was canceled on Monday because of snowfall but was reopened on Tuesday, the day of the incident. The boys decided to play together after school, officials said.

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