Tourists survive avalanche when glacier collapses during trek

Stunning moment nine British tourists and one American are hit by an ice avalanche that hurtled over them when glacier collapsed during Kyrgyzstan trek – and suffered nothing worse than cuts and bruises

  • Nine British and one American tourist were on a tour of the Tian Shan mountains 
  • They were struck by an avalanche in Kyrgyzstan when a glacier collapsed
  • Tourist Harry Shimmin said he thought he would die as he filmed the avalanche

This is the incredible moment a group of tourists survived being hit by an ice avalanche caused by a glacier that collapsed on them as they were hiking.

Nine British and one American tourist were on a guided tour of the Tian Shan mountains in Kyrgyzstan when a glacier crashed down the side of a cliff.

Everyone in the group survived the avalanche although one woman cut her knee and rode on a horse to the nearest hospital. 

One of the tourists was Harry Shimmin, who filmed as the avalanche of ice hurtled towards him and his friends.

Mr Shimmin said: ‘We’d just reached the highest point in the trek and I separated from the group to take pictures on top of a cliff edge.

‘While I was taking pictures I heard the sound of deep ice cracking behind me.

Nine British and one American tourist were on a guided tour of the Tian Shan mountains in Kyrgyzstan when a glacier crashed down the side of a cliff


Tourist Harry Shimmin said he thought he would die as he filmed the avalanche

‘I’d been there for a few minutes already so I knew there was a spot for shelter right next to me.

‘I was on a cliff edge, so I could only run away from the shelter (hence why I don’t move).

‘If we had walked five minutes further on our trek, we would all be dead.

‘If you look carefully in the video, you can see the faint grey trail winding through the grass. That was the path.’

He said: ‘If we had walked five minutes further on our trek, we would all be dead. ‘If you look carefully in the video, you can see the faint grey trail winding through the grass. That was the path’

As the avalanche continued to hurtle towards him he realised he was in danger and admitted he thought he was going to die

He acknowledged it would have been safer to shelter straight away but said He initially felt ‘in control’ as he watched the avalanche from a distance. However, as it grew closer he said it became harder to breathe.

‘I was bricking it and thought I might die,’ he said.

‘Behind the rock, it was like being inside a blizzard.

‘Once it was over the adrenaline rush hit me hard. I was only covered in light powder, without a scratch. I felt giddy.

‘I knew the rest of the group was further away from the avalanche so should be okay.’

Mr Shimmin added: ‘The whole group was laughing and crying, happy to be alive.

‘It was only later we realized just how lucky we’d been.’

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