SEATTLE - The two boys who were buried in an ice cave in the Cascade Mountains last month are finally talking about the ordeal. Seventeen-year-old Alec Corbett and 14-year-old Allesandro Gelmini still show the injuries from the weight of the ice cave that collapsed on them.
"I thought I was going to die," said Alec.
"When it first happened didn't think I would make it out," said Allesandro.
The teens were hiking with their mothers and their sisters in the Denny Creek area, in the Cascade Range 50 miles east of Seattle on Aug. 21, when the boys wandered into the mouth of the ice cave. With a deafening crack, a 50-foot swath of the cave's roof crashed down on them.
Both boys were pinned in uncomfortable positions.
"I could move both my arms and my right leg a little bit, but after that I'd say I lost feeling in both my legs," said Alec.
"It's hard to believe I lived through that," said Allesandro.
The boys say the key to their survival may have been staying awake and alert and talking as they waited for rescuers. The conversation focused on the upcoming school year at Blanchet High.
"If we hadn't talked to each other we might have passed out or fallen asleep," said Alessandro.
Harborview doctors have performed four surgeries on Allesandro and another on Alec.
And while one is on crutches and the other is wheelchair-bound for now, the teens can still play a little bit, and doctors say they should be doing a whole lot more within the next six to 12 months.
"Being able to hang out with my friends, and being able to ski this upcoming spring," said Alec.
Allesandro has some nerve damage in his left hand. He really wants to get back on the soccer field.
Both boys have titanium screws in their backs, which will be there for a lifetime.