British and American hikers are lucky to be alive after a massive avalanche in the Tian Shan mountains of Kyrgyzstan. They were trekking through the gorgeous wilderness when an absolutely massive glacier collapsed and rushed down the mountain towards them. One hiker, Harry Shimmin, managed to film the whole thing.
The most remarkable part of the video, which we saw on Laughing Squid, may be that he doesn’t start panicking until nearly 30 seconds have gone by. That’s when it’s clear that the avalanche is going to reach Shimmin on his faraway perch. Everyone in the group survived, but it’s a scary video nevertheless.
Even though the footage cuts off at the crucial moment when he finally takes cover from the onslaught, Shimmin told BBC that it wasn’t because his equipment broke. He just accidentally stopped filming when grabbing the camera and diving for cover. One of the hikers evacuated on horseback to receive medical attention for a badly cut knee. But considering the circumstances, it’s an incredibly lucky outcome.
Shimmin posted another series of videos and pictures on his Instagram account that show the aftermath of the avalanche. Only five minutes farther along their path, a bridge was taken out. The group also walked along the new ice field just ahead on the trail. The before and after shots of the mountain itself are particularly striking.
While Kyrgyzstan likely won’t be using the story to promote tourism in their country, the pictures of mountains and meadows are quite stunning. Other than the violent event that was over within minutes, it seems like a gorgeous place. Unfortunately, more incidents like this could take place due to climate change causing glaciers to melt.
Featured Image: Chen Zhao
Melissa is Nerdist’s science & technology staff writer. She also moderates “science of” panels at conventions and co-hosts Star Warsologies, a podcast about science and Star Wars. Follow her on Twitter @melissatruth.
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Author: Melissa T. Miller