Skier Rescued Alive From a Depth of 10-Feet After 1-Hour Burial in Avalanche

AvyBrains | | AvalancheAvalanche
burial, Switzerland
The Swiss Alps. Credit: Arnaud Jaegars | Unsplash

A person was rescued alive on January 14 in Jaun, Switzerland after being buried under 10-feet of snow for more than an hour, thanks to an avalanche dog and their RECCO Rescue System.

According to Linus Buchs, in charge of the rescue operation and former Head of Rescue in Jaun, three skiers were skiing in a steep off-piste area last Monday when the avalanche occurred. A 22-year-old man got buried completely in a 165-feet wide and 820-feet long avalanche.

avalanche, burial, survival times,
Avalanche burial time vs. survival chances. Credit: Canadian Medical Journal

The avalanche risk was 3 (considerable) out of 5 on the European Avalanche Danger Scale, and none of the skiers were equipped with a transceiver, shovel or probe. A witness called immediately for emergency assistance and a rescue team from REGA (Swiss Air-Rescue) came by helicopter with an avalanche dog and a RECCO detector.

“The avalanche dog marked a zone after 10 minutes, but the probing was unsuccessful. The rescue team immediately got a signal nearby with the RECCO detector and was able to pinpoint the victim. The position of the victim was confirmed with the probe and after 40 minutes of digging, the skier was found alive and conscious on a depth of 3.20 meters. He was rescued about 1 hour and 10 minutes after the burial and transported to the hospital. He is fine today,” says Buchs.

The skier was wearing an Arc’teryx jacket with an integrated RECCO rescue reflector. RECCO rescue reflectors make you searchable to professional rescuers. They are not a substitute for a transceiver, shovel, and probe used for companion rescue.

Jaun, Switzerland

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