Thursday 18 December 2014

Man films his escape from 'certain' death after plunging down 70ft Himalayan crevasse

Dr John All, an American academic, crawled for nine hours with a broken arm and ribs after falling down an ice crevasse in Nepal

Dean Nelson

Published 26/05/2014 | 09:41

An American academic has filmed his escape from “certain” death as he crawled in agony to safety after falling seventy feet onto a Himalayan mountain crevasse, breaking his arm, ribs and suffering severe cuts and bruises.

Dr John All, a geography lecturer from West Kentucky University who specialises in mountain science was collecting snow samples on the 23,379 feet Mount Himlung, close to Mount Everest in the Nepal Himalaya, when he fell into a deep crevasse which had been hidden by recent heavy snow.

His body ricocheted between the walls of the crevasse as he fell before he landed on a precarious ice ridge 70 feet down but more than 300 feet from the bottom. He spent the next six hours in agony crawling inch by inch with his ice axe, knowing that at any moment one slip and he would fall to a certain death.

“My body was shattered and I was in agony”, he told the Telegraph on Thursday. “My face hit one wall, my back and stomach hit the back wall and I bounced between them. My face was pretty torn up. I landed on a piece of ice at a midpoint.”

“I could have fallen another 100 metres and it’s amazing I didn’t. The entire time climbing out I knew if I slipped I would have been dead”, he said.

 His pain was excruciating. His ribs were shattered and his chances of successfully climbing out were slim. His right arm, his strongest, was broken and his injuries had sapped his strength.

Dr. All recovering following his escape.
All's injuries after the plummet

But despite the constant threat of death and the debilitating pain, he slowly pulled himself up, zigzagging slowly to make sure he didn’t slip again on soft snow on top of the ice. He also managed to take several video clips of his predicament and remarkable struggle to survive.

He climbed for six hours to get out of the hole, and then another three to reach his tent where he rested until he was rescued the following morning. He is now recovering in a Kathmandu hotel from where he spoke to the Telegraph.

He and his team of mountain scientists had earlier planned to climb the south summit of Everest but had been diverted by the avalanche which killed 16 Sherpas and led to the climbing season being cancelled amid protests.

On Thursday night he said although he is not married and doesn’t have children, the thought of his mother and friends kept him focused on survival. “Your survival instinct kicks in and that’s why I filmed the video – I couldn’t allow myself any doubt”, he said.

He is now planning his next mountain trip to Peru next month.

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