Avalanche survivors

Two men who were climbing Mt Taranaki on Sunday, were caught in an avalanche but survived. They saw the snow above them racing towards them. The snow caught them and carried them about 500m down the mountain, stopping on the edge of a cliff. They were both tossed about by the snow and rolled many times, hitting their heads, but luckily they were wearing helmets. One man was buried in the snow but he managed to clear the snow from his mouth so he could breathe. Then he worked hard to get one arm up, through the snow. His friend managed to get his upper body out of the snow and dig himself out although he had a broken leg. Then he saw his friend’s arm and started digging with his hands but his right elbow was broken so it was not easy.

Luckily the men had cell phones so they called for help. They also had GPS so they were able to say exactly where they were. A helicopter arrived quickly and took the men to hospital where they stayed overnight.

They both had leg and chest injuries but were very pleased to be alive.


Mt Taranaki (Maori) is also known as Mt Egmont (English name).
toss – throw (a ball) in the air but here it means throw around and around like a ball on the ground
Can you guess the meaning of avalanche and survive?


Most people caught in an avalanche do not survive but these men did.
• They were experienced climbers. How did this help them to survive?
• They also had luck. What things were just luck?
• Both men were married with children. What do you think their wives said afterwards?