4th March 2023
The ski tourer was buried for 6-hours and the crew of a rescue helicopter spotted his waving arm coming from out of the snow. His head was not buried allowing him to breathe. NEW
Details have emerged of an accident in early February.
The man went for a ski hike in the Lidairdes region of Switzerland when an avalanche hit.
He took photos of his route, sending them to his family as he progressed.
When he failed to return home at the end of the day his family alerted the authorities.
A team was set down on the ground as Air Glaciers scrambled a helicopter with a searchlight.
The pilot was able to detect a sign of life in a large pile of blocks of snow, by the simple light of the searchlight in the dark night.
“Still conscious, although buried up to his neck for more than six hours in compact snow, the survivor had only his head and one of his arms out of the casting, allowing him to signal to the helicopter at the time of his passage,” said a statement from Air Glaciers.
The man was winched into the helicopter.
He had slight hypothermia but was largely unharmed.
Here is the full statement on the incident from Air Glaciers:
“Yesterday at nightfall, a crew from Air-Glacier was mobilised to search for a missing person.
The alarm fell at 5.41 p.m. for a young man who had gone on a ski tour that morning in the Liddes region and who did not return.
Luckily, although he left alone, he had informed his family of his route, which he had already taken several times, as well as his planned return at the beginning of the afternoon.
On the way, he had even sent a photo of his passage over a pass, the last clue to his journey of the day which notably enabled the crew to reduce the search perimeter.
The intervention team, made up of a pilot, a paramedic, a lifeguard guide and a second guide from the region who had come to help, first went to the car park where the unlucky had left his car to make sure he hadn’t returned in the meantime.
The search then began by flying over the route he had announced to his family, until finally a fresh trace of his passage could be seen.
Dropped to the ground, the area guide immediately set off to follow the visible tracks, as the helicopter resumed its aerial search of the nearby corridors. It was there that, going up a corridor, our pilot was able to detect a sign of life in a large pile of blocks of snow, by the simple light of the searchlight in the dark night.
Still conscious, although buried up to his neck for more than 6 hours in compact snow, the survivor had only his head and one of his arms out of the casting, allowing him to signal to the helicopter at the time of his passage.
Our lifeguard guide was then immediately dropped off with him to begin his extraction while waiting for the second guide to join them.
The three people were finally evacuated by winch (length of more than 30m) from the small valley in which they were.
A story with a happy ending: the hiker, safe and sound, was airlifted unharmed, with mild hypothermia.”