Friday, April 18, 2008

How To Tell When It's Not Your Time

Start with a bad decision...
Slemp, his son Jared and a family friend took their snowmobiles up to the
crater's rim, where John and Jared parked their vehicles, then crawled on their
bellies to peer over the cornice -- a dangerous overhanging shelf of snow at the
crest of a mountain -- into the crater itself.
Bad luck ends well...
The cornice broke loose and Slemp dropped about 150 feet. His son began to
slide down with him until their friend grabbed him and pulled him back to
safety. The elder Slemp landed on a snow bank,
Whew! Except...
when he stood to climb back up the crater, the shelf of snow crumbled
beneath him and he tumbled about 1,300 feet further down the crater, riding a
tidal wave of avalanche debris on his hands and knees.
D'oh! Certain tragedy? Not yet.
At 5:20 p.m. PT, the sheriff's office received a phone call that a man had
fallen off the crater rim but was up and moving around.
Wow! How did he survive that?

But Slemp was wearing a heavy snowmobile suit as well as a helmet and heavy
boots, and he happened to fall in an area without craggy crevices or boulders
which could have killed him.

"[He] picked a great place to do this," Gary Kapezynski, the training coordinator for the volcano rescue team, said. "This was one of two places at the crater which were snow covered and there were very few cliffs ... if he'd have gone off in other places, I don't think he would have made it."

Go read the rest.

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