News: Skier Survives Austrian Avalanche With Avalung

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The following is an email from the survivor of a skiing related avalanche in Austria who survived the avalanche with the help of his Avalung. It is important to note that the skier, Paul Simpson, claims that he does not necessarily believe the Avalung saved his life, but it prevented him from losing concisousness as his ski buddy, who was buried in the same slide, lost concisousness.

From: Paul Simpson
Sent: Samstag, 29. Januar 2011 14:21
Subject: Avalanche on Kitzsteinhorn, Kaprun, Austria.... 2 ski
Instructors buried alive.


Yesterday I was unlucky to be involved in a huge avalanche as reported in the press and television in Austria.

My friend and I were 2 from the 5 Ski Instructors making our way to the top of a ridge were we planned to do the long off-piste route down to the village of Niedernsill. We were taking the last traverse very cautiously and decided to go one at a time due to the risk of avalanche and although we took every precaution possible (except remaining at home) an avalanche which was extremely big took myself and my friend on a unforgettable ride losing 200 metres altitude and traveling over 300 meters in a matter of seconds.


I had focused the whole way down the slide on biting hard on the tube from my AvaLung and it was still firmly in my mouth when I was buried in this icy tomb. I could not move a millimetre with the exception of my hand. Amazingly the AvaLung allowed me to breath almost as normal and I was strangely calm and began to try to use my free hand to wave and to clear some snow away from my helmet which was only about 15 - 20cm under the snow.

Within 5 minutes one of the other group had found me with the Pieps and the fact that my glove was showing. He dug me out still conscious and breathing normally. I was of course very bruised but surprised nothing was broken.

- Black Diamond

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