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TO DROWN IN SNOW

Can one drown in snow? Although it sounds impossible, yes he can! It depends on the amount of snow and particular circumstances. I remember such a case from a winter day in the 70s...



It was the peak of winter season. The ski slopes in Beskidy were full of tourists who had longed for snow for a very long time – that winter had been rather snowless up to that point, when there were snowdrifts 2 and 3 metres deep. At that time there were no snow groomers in Poland, so every morning a group of local men on skis and with shovels, would groom the slope with their skis, at the beginning up to their waste in snow.

A slope prepared this way was not thrilling for a group of children who skied so well that they decided to do it next to the slope, in the deep snow. It was so deep that sometimes only their hats were visible on the surface. They had so much fun.

Suddenly, a teenage girl appeared on the main slope (somewhere in the middle of its length) trying to get help for her friend who had fallen into snow. The skiers took it for another joke of the cheerful group of kids, and didn’t even bother to stop and listen to her.

After some time the desperate girl went down to get help from Mountain rescuers stationing by the lift. At first, they also thought that the teenager is joking, but her desperation finally made them put on their skis and they took the lift up. The girl led them down the unprepared slope, up to their waste in snow, until in a steep place they saw a big spruce, and underneath it, two skis lying upside down on the surface of snow...

The rescuers had to take off their skis to dig up the boy, but the moment they did that, they were up to their neck in snow. With a lot of effort they managed to get the boy out, but he showed no signs of life... Sadly, the desperate resuscitation gave no results.

How did it happen? The children were having fun on the unprepared slope, in the snowdrifts. One of the boys suddenly lost his balance and fell with his head down. Unfortunately, his head got stuck under the snow, in the frozen spruce branches. At the same time his legs were secured on the surface in the well fastened shoes and in the bindings that didn’t release. He wasn’t able to move his legs, he could only helplessly move his hands. He lacked oxygen and soon his mouth was full of snow. His head was held by the stiff frozen branches, more and more blood was flowing into his head. Everything went black and he started to suffocate... His frightened friend went to bring help, but it arrived only after half an hour. Unfortunately, a couple of minutes too late...



 

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