Ten people, including nine Britons, are reported to have survived after being swept away by a massive avalanche in the Tian Shan Mountains in Kyrgyzstan.
Footage uploaded to Instagram by Harry Shimmin, one of the people involved in the trekking tour, showed snow starting to smash into a mountain in the distance, before sweeping across them and forcing the group to take cover while the snow fell on top of them.
Schmin was separated from the guided tour group to take pictures when he heard “the sound of ice cracking behind me,” according to a report he posted alongside the video.
He added, “I was there for a few minutes already, so I knew there was a place to shelter next to me.
“I left it until the last minute to move, and yes I know it would have been better to go to the shelter immediately. I’m well aware I took a big risk. I felt in control, but regardless, when it started snowing and it got dark/more difficult to breathe, I was letting go and I think I might die.”
The Tian Shan Mountains are located mainly on both sides of southeastern Kyrgyzstan and its northeastern border with China. They formed part of the ancient trade route of the Silk Road from the Middle East and Asia to the West.
Schmin said he knew the rest of his group was farther away, so they’d be safe, and wrote of feeling “dizzy” when he realized he was only covered in a light powder with “no scratch.” They were scheduled to walk the avalanche path shortly thereafter.
“We would only hear the roar before the lights went out,” he said.
Other members of the group – also an American – sustained a knee injury, while one fell off a horse.
Schmin added, “The whole group was laughing and crying, happy to be alive (including the girl who cut her knee). We realized later how lucky we were. If we walked another five minutes on our journey, we would all die.”
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