Ski tourer in serious condition after Corsican avalanche

Yesterday at a little after 15h00 the fire-brigade in Corte (Corsica) received an urgent call from a ski tourer somewhere between the lac du Melo and the farm at Grutelle. He had been involved in an avalanche and his buddy was still buried. on the east side of the Bocca Soglia ridge and the lac. The pair had left Grutelle to climb the GR 20.

Specialized units from fire service, assisted by mountaineers from Ajaccio, a Doctor and members of the high mountain police (PGHM) flew to the scene using three helicopters from the Civil Security service and PGHM. On the ground at 1600 meters there was a lot of snow and cloud cover and rescuers had to be lowered by winch.

The victim, Dumè Cappai wasn’t completely buried, rescue workers spotted an arm emerging from the snow. He had been under the avalanche for over an hour. After immediate medical attention he was evacuated by helicopter to Corte with a severe hypothermia, fractures and a collapsed lung. He was later transferred to Ajaccio

A drama could easily have turned into a catastrophe for both skiers. Dumè Giorgi was also caught by the slide but managed to save himself by grabbing a small tree. A representative of the French rescue services told that, although he was unaware of the circumstances of this accident, it is important for skiers to search any slide for visual clues as to the location of an avalanche victim if they cannot get a signal using their avalanche beacon before leaving the scene to seek outside help. He has attended a number of incidents where the part of the victim or his equipment was visible on the surface but due to the delay the person was dead.

Further Information

Posted by davidof on Friday, 09 January, 2009 at 10:54 AM

Just a comment on the article. When you are alone, following an avalanche and with poor visibility it may not be easy to search a large area for clues and getting outside help may have been the best course of action under the circumstances. The skiers were experienced so I wonder if they were not wearing beacons, which would be surprising.

Posted by davidof on  Friday, 09 January, 2009  at 11:30 AM
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