Watch: This is what it's like to be caught in an avalanche at Whistler. Terrifying.

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An Australian man swept away by an avalanche in Whistler in Canada could well owe his life to an inflatable safety backpack given to him as a present.

Tom Oye who was snowboarding, captured the terrifying experience on his helmet camera.

He's swept from his feet and careens down the slope before eventually coming to a stop.

"Oh s**t," Mr Oye says as he realises the trouble he's in.

During the terrifying fall, Mr Oye inflates his backpack, specifically designed to keep skiers and snowboarders near the surface in an avalanche.

"That was a little scary," he says when he realises he's safe.

Another snowboarder is quickly on the scene to help Mr Oye out.

The backpack was given to him by his family back home in Adelaide, Australian broadcaster Channel 10 reports.

Mr Oye posted video of the incident on his Facebook page yesterday, where it's been be viewed more than three million times.

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