Burial Depth

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Two cases also show that being buried too deep is an insurmountable obstacle when rescuing a victim. 1h30 for someone buried at 220cm and 3 hours to dig out another victim under 4 meters of snow. This is where a probe is useful. In the case where there are a number of victims a probe enables us to evaluate the order in which victims should be rescued according to the depth at which they are buried. To put it more cruelly, if you don't have many diggers concentrate on those buried closer to the surface.

It is also worth noting the case of a group of 8 ski tourers, all equipped with transceivers two of whom were caught by an avalanche. The first was quickly localized during the search because she had managed to push a glove out of the snow. Contrast this to the second victim, found by a probe search (and using 12 rescue dogs!!!) under 2m80 of snow and who was dug out after six and a half hours of effort. The rescue services were called after a search of the site found the victim's rucksack with the transceiver switched off, inside. Nobody had thought to check before setting off that day.

The opposite of these tragic events was that of a family outing. Three children were caught by a slide while their dad followed. After he arrived at the site of the avalanche and realized that his children were missing he set to work right away. He quickly found and dug out his son who had managed to poke a gloved hand to the surface. Thanks to his son's indication that he was close to his siblings and with the aid of other skiers and the piste patrol the two other kids were found alive after 45 minutes. Without a transceiver or any special equipment but with a clear head and lots of luck.

Categories: Snow Safety