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Can a TV transmission save someone’s life? From my experience, it is clear that yes, it can! Such a situation took place in the 80s...

It was the time of Winter Olympic Games in Calgary that were transmitted by the Polish TV in the middle of night, because of the time difference.

One winter afternoon was coming to an end. The lit up slopes for night skiing were not popular then, so all the skiers were back in the valley. At that time the rescuers received a call from a woman in her thirties who reported her husband is missing. She was in hysterics so the rescuer didn't trust her. But of course, he noted the call down.

The whole story sounded very strange... The man was 40 years old, he was healthy and strong, he knew the slope very well. From the gathered information it came out that he liked 'making friends' as well as parties and alcohol. It had happened many times that he would stay somewhere for the night without informing anyone.

It clearly seemed that the missing skier was somewhere having fun and that he would be back during the night. Still, to follow the procedure, the rescuer phoned the stations on the slope as well as police and ambulance service, to ask whether they had heard of such a man. The answers he received were negative.

The circumstances in which the skier was reported missing were also unclear... He was skiing together with his teenage daughter. The slope was quite difficult, covered in thick fog, and their skiing skills varied, so the father would ski fast and then wait at the bottom of the slope for his daughter. After a couple of such rounds the girl couldn't find her father near the ground station. She decided that he must had got cold and took the lift up, but he wasn't there as well. She skied down, looking around all the way, but no trace of him could be found.

Then the girl informed her mother, who was sitting in the bar by the lift, drinking coffee, that the father was missing. The woman immediately phoned Mountain Rescue Team, as the intuition told her that something must had happened.

It was getting dark and the rescuers were all arriving at the Regional Rescue Station to leave their skis and keys to other rescue stations. Like every day they wanted to go home, have supper and watch the fascinating Olympic Games all night long.

It didn't seem that something could be done for the missing skier, but still, the case was unresolved. Then, one of the most experienced rescuers had an idea. He said: Boys, I know that the guy is most probably having great fun at the moment, meeting new people at the bar and flirting with girls, just as many did before. But still, when the Head phones at 10 p.m. and finds out that there is a person missing, he'll accept no excuses and we'll have to come back here and spend all night on patrol. We'll be walking in the darkness all night long with no results, missing the Olympics, and the guy will be found in the morning in one of the boarding houses. You know what? Let's check the area now. He's most probably not there but if we patrol the slope carefully now and we'll be 100% sure he really is not there, there'll be no reason to start search in the middle of the night!

And so they all packed into the old UAZ off-road car and went to the ski lift. The lift workers were only finishing their evening vodka so it was not a problem for them to power the lift and get the Mountain rescuers up.

The fog was so thick that the visibility was maximum 2 metres around every source of light. What is more, it started to snow heavily.

The rescuers fanned out and descended slowly, checking the slope meter by meter. When they were done, they decided to have another go.

During the second check, old Kuba, who was patrolling the edge of the slope, spotted a ski trace that disappeared suddenly at the top of a hump. It looked as if the skier was taken to heaven, or... had been thrown out of the slope. The curious rescuer followed the hypothetical direction of the trace into the forest and soon spotted... a ski sticking out of the snow. There was the unconscious man, lying under a tree with a basilar skull fracture. It looked as though he was skiing very fast, lost control of his skies, fell into the forest and bumped his head on a tree.

The rescuer quickly called his friends. In darkness, thick fog and deep snow they were fighting for the man's life. In the meantime, a snowmobile arrived from the valley with rescue sledges. Before the skier was safely handed over to the ambulance, the rescuers had to stop three times on the steep slope to carry out resuscitation.

Although it sounds impossible, the man not only survived, but also came back skiing next year and continued making friends with charming ladies, which, as always, infuriated his wife...

If the rescuers followed the standard procedure and came back to patrol the area around midnight, they would only find a dead frozen body...

Can you say that it was not the Winter Olympics, or, to be more precise, its live TV transmission, that saved the man's life?






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