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‘I took my last breath, then saw a flicker of light’ -moment avalanche victim realises he will live

By The Siberian Times reporter
16 January 2018

Two snowmobilers die but five dug out of snow alive in Khakassia: video shows desperate rescue efforts to save tourists.

‘No words can express how grateful I am to everyone who took all their energy to dig with spades, sticks, hands, anything they could use, to rescue us’

Rescuers successfully saved five men buried by an avalanche near Lake Panfilovskoe in the Ordzhonikizevsky District of the Khakassia republic in southern Siberia.

Two died after being buried under the epicentre of the avalanche.

The video shows their bodies at the scene as rescuers frantically clear snow to big others out of the snow. 

It highlights one man, close to death and breathing hard and moaning, being gradually uncovered, and a hand of another. 

The dead tourists were from Krasnoyarsk and Surgut, aged 35 and 42. 

‘I took my last breath then saw a flicker of light’ - moment avalanche victim realises he will survive


‘I took my last breath then saw a flicker of light’ - moment avalanche victim realises he will survive


‘I took my last breath then saw a flicker of light’ - moment avalanche victim realises he will survive

The avalanche in Khakassia took lives of two men; five were rescued


An unnamed survivor later took to Instagram to share his dramatic story, telling how he had given up hope of living at the moment he was found by rescuers. 

'The only thing I managed to do when I saw the avalanche coming was to shout ‘STOP’ to the guys who were behind us. 

‘This rescued them from getting right into an epicentre. 

‘I started my snowmobile, pressed full speed and once it swam inside the avalanche I jumped. 

‘I got swallowed by the avalanche immediately; for a long time I was under very thick snow in complete silence and darkness.

‘The first thing I did was to push snow away from my face by moving both my head and my chest, trying to free some space so that the snow didn’t get too hard. 

‘With an enormous  difficulty I took helmet off and tried to recover my breath by pushing my fleece over my mouth and trying to breath in with my nose, and out with my mouth under the fleece. 

‘My hopes to be rescued were melting away with every passing second.'

AVALANCHE RESCUE VIDEO

‘Snow was crushing me stronger and stronger and I struggled to stop myself panicking. 

‘At least three times I went through really strong heartbeat and very shallow breath. 

‘I had to fight with myself to regain control over my feelings. 

‘All my thoughts were about my family. I realised this was very likely the end. 

‘When I took what felt like my last breath, I suddenly saw a flicker of light, and that gave me mad hope that I wasn’t done yet. 

‘Then a feeler (prodded into the snow by rescuers) touched my leg, and it was one of the best sensations of my life. 

‘The first part of my body that they dug was my hand; somebody touched it and I had enough strength to squeeze  back. 

‘I realised I’ll live.

‘No words can express how grateful I am to everyone who took all their energy to dig with spades, sticks, hands, anything they could use, to rescue us.’

The Investigative Committee of Khakassia is expected to make a statement about the incident.

Comments (1)

Thank you to everyone involved in this rescue.
Pamela K Tetarenko, League City, United States
21/01/2018 05:42
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