British Skier Survives After Buried Alive in Avalanche for 15 Minutes

 
on February 24 2012 6:13 AM
Avalanche
Avalanche in Chile REUTERS

Rhianna Shaw, a British skier from Chichester who was declared clinically dead, has survived after she was buried alive in the snow following an avalanche.

The 23-year-old skier was buried in the snow for 15 minutes following an avalanche on an Austrian mountain where she was skiing. Medics were shocked by her survival as there is only a six percent chance of survival once you have been buried under snow for more than eight minutes.

Shaw late Thursday described her experienced as absolutely terrifying as she screamed for help but her friends could not hear it.  

There was several feet of snow on top of me. You usually think snow will move but it just sets like concrete around you, Daily Mail reported quoting Shaw.

I was absolutely frozen and I couldn't move an inch. I could just about make out which way was up as a little bit of light was coming through and I could hear faint sounds.

All I could do was scream for help, but no one could hear me. 

They thought I might have skied off and I could hear my mobile ringing in my pocket but I couldn't answer it. It was absolutely terrifying.

The accident occurred when Shaw was skiing off piste near St Anton along with her five friends last Thursday.

We hadn't had snow for a couple of weeks then lots came down and it was a lovely sunny day so we decided to go out, she said.

We went round this one bit and me and my friend Alistair were coming down side by side and he was on a snowboard and we had a minor collision and I lost both skis.

It normally wouldn't be a problem but it started a bit of snowfall.

Then the others came down and a massive ledge of snowfall broke away and it carried me down the slope around 150 meters.

I was completely buried alive and no part of me was above the surface. I would rather have not been conscious but I was.

I couldn't move, my arms were frozen. The most I could do was shriek, but they couldn't hear me. I tried not to panic.

Her friends immediately formed a chain near the mountain and retraced their footsteps using ski poles to find her buried body. While searching her body they found the back of her leg and pulled her out. When her body was dug out she was not breathing but a friend gave her CPR and it worked.  

She was then flown to the hospital by helicopter and put on a drip. Almost a week after that, she is now doing well and is expected to make full recovery soon.  

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