Visible Clues And Avalanche Rescue

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The second piece of evidence can be summarised as follows: each time that a part of the skier or his equipment was visible on the surface of the avalanches they survived. This excludes the people killed during the slide and the people who were out skiing on their own. In the case of the three people skiing alone they were found easily due to part of them being visible but had died due to the long delays of between 70 minutes to 48h.

It is much easier and faster to find a skier caught in a slide visually by some element on the surface of the slide because you need neither be a specialist nor have any specific training. There is also the advantage that the victims are dug out more rapidly due to their proximity to the surface. It should be noted that in four statements by victims they claimed that they wanted to mark where they were as they felt the avalanche begin to slow, either by pushing an arm or ski pole towards the surface. This is perhaps a sign, if somewhat uncertain, of the will to live of the victim.

These notes relate to eight persons totally buried where just a very small part was evident, the end of a glove or shoe or the point of a pole. It goes without saying that people who were only part buried could normally free themselves.

All this backs up the accepted advice given to victims and rescuers to take account of signs on the surface of the avalanche or to avoid being entirely buried by ‘swimming’ in the slide. Other important points relate to preparation, negligence during the trip or bad organisation of the rescue.

Categories: Snow Safety