"Two minutes earlier, and I would have been one of the people that they were looking for," Franklin said.
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A Santa Cruz man who was snowboarding at the Palisades Tahoe ski resort Wednesday morning says he and his friend were the first people to ride down the mountain after the deadly avalanche was triggered.
Marcus Franklin joined Getting Answers at 3 p.m. to talk about his unexpected morning and also how he sprung into action to help with the rescue effort.
"I identified another person several 100 feet below that wasn't fully buried. And so I went and gathered some bamboo poles that were used for marking hazards -- ski patrol places them around for to help people navigate, there about 10 feet tall -- so I grabbed as many of those as I could and handed them out to people So we could try to strike the ground, combing the avalanche field to get a positive strike when you make contact with somebody's body when they're fully buried," Franklin said.
He says he is very thankful to have missed the avalanche, which Placer County sheriff's officials say killed one person.
"I just feel like I was very lucky with my timing. And that I wasn't one or you know, two minutes earlier, and I would have been one of the people that they were looking for," Franklin told us. "Just really humbling, surprising. Yeah, just counting my blessings today."
The avalanche occurred around 9:30 a.m. on steep slopes under the KT-22 lift, which serves "black diamond" runs for skilled skiers and snowboarders.
It happened as major storm with snow and gusty winds moved into the region.
Wednesday's death at Palisades Tahoe is the first U.S. avalanche fatality of the 2023-2024 winter season, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.
Watch the full interview in the media player above.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
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