Avalanche danger

An avalanche is a huge snow slide. It can kill skiers or climbers who are buried in this snow slide.

The latest cold weather brought snow to mountains and other high places. Strong winds pushed much more snow onto some places and this could slide down the mountain easily.

A group of skiers in Canterbury, on the mountains near Christchurch, were caught in an avalanche yesterday and one skier died. They were heli skiing which means a helicopter dropped them onto the mountain. They were all experienced in this kind of skiing and had two guides with them.

When the avalanche started, one man was caught by snow up to his waist so others had to dig him out. Another two men were buried. Guides managed to dig them out quite quickly, in about seven or eight minutes, but one was dead. The other one needed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation at first. He said later that all he could move was his tongue so he used his tongue to clear the snow from his nose so that he could breathe. All these men caught in the avalanche were Australian tourists.