'I was bricking it': Briton survives apocalyptic avalanche – and he filmed it

Source: news.sky.com : 2022-07-11 08:23:00 :

A man who heard “deep ice cracking” says he was “bricking it” and thought he might die as an avalanche came thundering down a mountain towards him in Kyrgyzstan.

Harry Shimmin, who was among nine Britons and one American on a guided tour of the Tian Shan mountains, said they were lucky to survive after a piece of glacier broke off.

Had they walked “five minutes further on our trek, we would all be dead”, he said in an Instagram post.

“We would have only heard the roar before lights out.”

Mr Shimmin, 27, said they had just reached the highest point on the trek when he separated from the rest of the group to take pictures on top of a cliff edge.

“I’m very aware that I took a big risk,” he said, but “felt in control”.

Nevertheless, “when the snow started coming over and it got dark (and) harder to breathe, I was bricking it and thought I might die”, he added.

“I was on a cliff edge, so I could only run away from the shelter (hence why I don’t move).

“Yes I left it to the last second to move, and yes, I know it would have been safer moving to the shelter straight away.”

His video shows a carpet of ice and snow rolling down the mountain, getting closer and closer until it goes over the top of him.

“Behind the rock it was like being inside a blizzard,” he said.

“Once it was over the adrenaline rush hit me hard. I was only covered in a small layer of snow without a scratch.

“I felt giddy. I knew the rest of the group was further away from the avalanche so should be okay.”

Harry Shimmin says he was 'bricking it'. Pic: Harry Shimmin/Viral Hog
Image:
Harry Shimmin says he was ‘bricking it’. Pic: Harry Shimmin via Viral Hog

Although they were all safe, one person had “cut her knee quite badly” and “rode one of the horses to the nearest medical facility”.

“The whole group was laughing and crying, happy to be alive (including the girl who cut her knee),” Mr Shimmin said.

“It was only later we realised just how lucky we’d been.

“If you look carefully in the video, you can see the faint grey trail winding through the grass. That was the path.

“We traversed it afterwards, walking among massive ice boulders and rocks that had been thrown much further than we could have run, even if we acted immediately.

“To make it worse, the path runs alongside a low ridge, hiding the mountain from view, so we would have only heard the roar before lights out.”

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