British climber cheats death by 'swimming' through Mont Blanc avalanche


British climber cheats death by 'swimming' through Mont Blanc avalanche

A British climber was swept down Mont Blanc in France and managed to escape with minor injuries by swimming 700m in an avalanche.

The unnamed man is recovering in hospital and police said that swimming through the avalanche helped him to avoid being crushed to death.

He was with two other Britons, Ben Tibbetts and Misha Gopaul, as they descended the mountain after reaching the summit.

Aosta police chief Delfino Viglione told the Daily Mail: "The climber who was caught in the avalanche survived but he was very, very lucky.

"He was hit by the full force of the avalanche, but instead of being buried he managed to swim it for 700m before coming to a stop.

"The swimming action helped him stay near the surface of the snow and he was able to walk out of the avalanche.

"He had to be picked up by helicopter as the mountain rescue teams could not reach him - but the main thing was he survived."

Mr Tibbetts told the Evening Standard: "It was an unfortunate accident. Avalanches are difficult to predict. We were a group of three and one of us got hit but myself and Misha didn't and are okay. The other guy is very, very fortunate.

"He was carried quite a way down but he survived. He rode the avalanche, floated near the top."

The incident came after more than 200 tourists were evacuated from Mont Blanc by helicopter on Tuesday when their cable car broke down and caught fire.

Two helicopters made 45 trips up and down the mountainside over two hours to bring the tourists back to ground in Chamonix.

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