An avalanche wiped out a group of snowboarders near a ski resort in Verbier, Switzerland. Other skiers and snowboarders rushed to help the buried victims. A video on Instagram posted by snowboarder Victor Liebenguth documents one of the victims being dug out before her friend was also rescued.
Liebenguth, who lives in a nearby village in Switzerland, had been enjoying the slopes on January 30. He recalled that even though there had been an avalanche warning, the resort had not taken any safety precautions. A group of 10 people were going down the same mountain face at the same time. The avalanche took place in the Creblet pass.
On the four-week dry terrain, a metre of fresh snow had fallen just before the incident. Even with the high avalanche risk, all that the resort did was issue a warning. Liebenguth noticed that two women were hit hard by the avalanche. Liebenguth and other skiers rushed to assist the trapped victims.
Liebenguth recorded a video of himself freeing the first avalanche victim. The panic-stricken woman was breathless and shouting for help. She was easily spotted as her air-bag had deployed on impact. The woman was eventually freed from the snow. Once free, she confirmed that she was unharmed, but she continued to panic about her friend.
In the video, Liebenguth only shows the rescue of the first woman as well as the approach of a rescue helicopter. The Daily Mail reported that the other woman was also found 70m (230ft) further down the slope. Both women received emergency medical assistance and did not sustain severe injuries.
The ski resort is popular for hosting the finals of the annual Freeride World Tour. Most adventure seekers visiting the resort opt to ski off-piste. Both Liebenguth and the resort warned snowboarders and skiers about leaving the ski trails. Without the right equipment and expertise, the ride can go horribly wrong at any moment.
Liebenguth also criticised the lack of security arrangements by the resort.