Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Man Pulls Himself Out Of Not One But Two Avalanches (In The Same Day) - True Survival Story

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We all have minor accidents in wintery weather, like slipping and falling on ice.

Its usually annoying, but its nothing compared to narrowly escaping a deadly avalanchejust

to be thrown off a cliff by a second one a few hours later.

Thats the unbelievable true story of Ken Jones, a British hiker who was hiking in the

Transylvanian Alps and had to deal with one of natures fastest, deadliest disasters


Jonessolo climbing trip turned into a nightmare most people cant even imagine.

Freezing in the mountain cold, buried under snow with broken bones, and worst of all,

entirely alone, Jones found himself facing incredibly unfavorable odds for survival.

So, what did he do …?

Ken Jones was a 26-year-old student at Manchester University majoring in political science.

He had an adventurous nature, perhaps arising from his time spent in the UK military.

When he decided to venture out to Romania and hike Mount Moldoveanu in Transylvanias

Carpathian Mountains on his own, it wasnt an unusual feat for him.

At 8,200 feet (2,500 meters) high, Mount Moldoveanu is the highest peak in Romania.

Jones arrived in Romania around New Years Day and started the climb one cold morning

in January of 2003.

Though Moldoveanu Peak has hiking trails full of climbers during the summer, in the winter

it is mostly deserted due to the deep snow, cold and generally harsh conditions.

However, since Jones was missing his army days, he wanted to undertake this solitary

hiking challenge to recapture that sense of adventure.

He figured his experience of four years as a Paratrooper and two years as a Special Forces

soldier would help support him during his climb.

The first few hours on the mountain went smoothly.

Jones climbed up higher and higher at a good pace, until a change in weather, decrease

in visibility, and a layer of deeper snow high up on the mountain slowed him down.

As he was nearing the summit, a heavy snowfall started, and the sky became opaque.

Jones decided conditions were too poor to continue, so he would go back down and attempt

to summit the next day.

A slight tremor he had felt in the ground below him combined with an unusual noise increased

his unease, and further urged him to climb back down.

As Jones was descending a few minutes later, he heard the same strange noise again - but

louder this time.

Now, it was unmistakable, a noise Jones was familiar with thanks to military training

in mountains and wintery conditions.

It was the sound of the recent snowfall stressing the solid snowpack underneath, creating dangerous


Suddenly, he stopped dead in his tracks.

The sound rang out a third time very close to his positionthis time, it sounded

like the entire mountain was creaking under its weight.

Fearful of what he suspected was about to happen, Jones dropped down on the ground and

tobogganed down the mountain on his back.

As he neared the forest, he stood up to find cover and heard what he had feared the most:

the loud crack that signals the start of an avalanche, like a whip crack magnified by


With few good paths of escape, Jones ran through the forest, adrenaline surging through his


He hoped a large clump of trees would divert the snow and protect him from the worst of

the incoming avalanche.

Refusing to look back, Jones could hear the quickening speed of the mass of snow hurtling

towards him.

It sounded like an entire airport full of planes taking off at once, combined with the

constant machine-gun-like snapping of tree branches being broken off in the avalanches


The air filled with snow shooting in all directions, the powder on the ground shot up, clouding

Jonesvision, and he knew he was in the thick of it.

Suddenly, the ear-piercing rumble of the snow continued down the hill in front of him.

Miraculously, Jones was standing firmly against a tree for protection, still alive, well,

and most definitely not buried under a Transylvanian avalanche.

The brunt of the avalanche had missed him, and the trees had provided adequate protection

from the full force of the disaster.

Since avalanches have been known to tear out entire swaths of forest from their roots,

and even demolish entire towns, Jonessurvival in the forest was far from guaranteed.

His escape was nothing short of extraordinary.

An immense wave of relief swept over him.

He had narrowly avoided what could have been a deadly disaster.

Jones resumed his climb down the mountain, looking forward to a night in his sleeping

bag and an early summit tomorrow.

A few minutes later, Jones stopped again.

What he was hearing couldnt possibly be happening.

But horrifyingly, there it was: a large crack echoing around the slopes, and the same Boeing

engine-like rumble starting to come down the mountain.

Lets leave Jones in his truly unenviable position for a moment to look at what causes

avalanches, and exactly how enormous they can be.

Avalanches can be caused by changing weather conditions such as a recent storm or snowfall

stressing a snowpack on a slope, or by human triggers such as snowmobiles, skiers, and

explosives that destabilize the snowpack.

When an avalanche picks up speed, it can reach 80 to 100 mph while booming down a slope,

too fast for even the fastest animal in the world - a cheetah that tops out at 75 mph

- to outrun.

Though we dont know the exact size of the avalanche hurtling towards Jones, its safe

to say that it was a medium to large size avalanche from his description of the snow.

Medium avalanches can range from 165 to 655 feet (50 to 200 meters) and have a volume

up to 220,000 gallons (around 1000 cubic meters).

Large avalanches can range up to 2,000 to 3,000 feet (610 - 915 meters), and have a

volume of up to 2.2 million gallons (10,000 cubic meters), or about the size of four full

Olympic size swimming pools of snow.

Being buried under that would almost certainly be fatal.

Now back to Jones, who was having the worst case of déjà vu imaginable.

Completely exposed this time, Jones ran down the hill, knowing the avalanche was moving

too fast for him to escape.

The snow caught up with him, whiting out everything around him once again.

This time, he wouldnt be as lucky as before.

The avalanche picked him off his feet and rolled him uncontrollably down the slope.

Suddenly, Jones could no longer feel the ground.

The avalanche had thrown him straight off a cliff, and Jones plunged around 75 feet

(23 meters), or around 7.5 stories to the valley below.

The avalanche rolled him further down until it smashed him against some trees and rocks.

To understand the horrible predicament Jones was in: the general survival rates for avalanche

victims depends a lot on the time of rescue.

If an avalanche victim is found within the first 18 minutes, the chances of them surviving

are more than 91%.

So far, so good right?

Those odds dont sound too bad.

Heres the problem: if the victim is removed from under the avalanche within 19 to 35 minutes,

the chances of them surviving plummet to 34%.

After 35 minutes trapped in freezing snow without rescue, the picture starts to look

really bleak, really fast.

Jones was alone.

No one knew his exact location or that anything had happened to him.

He had no method of communication.

Worst of all, he would quickly realize that his leg was broken at the femur and his pelvis

was shattered.

The nearest town was 10 miles away.

At this point, lets just say his odds of survival that day were about the same as him

winning the lottery.

When he regained consciousness, Jones tried to stand.

His left leg immediately gave way under him, and indescribable pain shot through his entire


Jones knew he now only had three limbs to work with, and few supplies.

His sleeping bag, poncho, rations, dry kit, first aid kit and flask were gone.

He was left with a Leatherman tool, compass, two bags of crumbed up food - sausage rolls

and cakes - and a length of parachute cord - a light nylon rope used as a general utility


He got one small stroke of luck; looking around in the darkness, he was relieved to see the

glow from his head torch uphill.

Painfully and slowly, he dragged his body up the slope to retrieve it, finding his hat

along the way.

As he descended again, he also located his canoe sacka bag for keeping items dry

with a pair of dry socks and a plastic liter-size water bottle within it.

By now it was nighttime.

Feeling his feet dangerously swollen, Jones removed his boots, and placed his legs inside

the canoe sack for protection against the cold, retreating his arms and head into his

upper layers like a tortoise so they could be protected.

He fought sleep off almost the whole night, knowing that giving in could cause him to

enter a hypothermic state.

At the first light of dawn, Jones started making his way down the mountain.

He knew there was a stream down in the valley, and if he reached it, he could fill his water

bottle and follow the stream back to civilization.

Jones crawled from dawn until dusk, repeating the military commands and sayings he remembered

from his training days to keep him motivated when he felt weak.

Though he crawled all day, his progress was slow, and he realized he would have to spend

a second night out in the cold, exposed and alone.

During the night, thoughts of his faraway friends and family flashed through his head.

He thought of their comfort and ignorance of his predicament and wondered if he would

see them again.

Miraculously, he made it through another freezing, wintery night outdoors.

The second day, after more hours of painful crawling on three limbs, which was tearing

up his hands and body, Jones reached the stream.

He drank and refilled his water bottle, then continued crawling along the banks of the

stream toward the nearest vehicle track he could remember encountering on his way to

the mountain.

Several times, he found his way completely blocked.

Each time, he had to strip off his upper layers, throw them across the stream to keep them

dry, and either hop or swim his way across the freezing water.

Then he would crawl further down and find his new path blocked by cliffs, forcing him

to repeat this excruciating and freezing process.

The third night, Jones was sure it was his last.

The symptoms of hypothermiaconfusion, drowsiness, shallow breathing, a weak pulse

and fumbling hands - had completely set in, and he had lost all feeling in his right foot.

A heavy snowfall had also started during the night.

Though it seemed like bad luck at the time, it may have actually saved Joneslife.

He awoke in a cocoon of snow, which had helped keep his body temperature a few degrees warmer

at night than it would have been, like an igloo.

To this day, he believes this prevented him from completely succumbing to hypothermia

that night.

As Jones continued his descent the next day, the route bottlenecked, meaning Jones had

to get into the freezing cold water one last time.

Hungry, exhausted, shivering, and feeling utterly defeated, he swam on for what seemed

like ages but again reached an impasse.

By that point, he had been in the water for almost three hours and covered just under

330 feet (100 meters) thanks to his dead leg and weakened condition.

He knew that if he spent much more time wet and cold he would be dead.

Jones managed to slowly and painfully climb out of the water, but in the process, lost

his right boot.

As Jones continued his descent, he started hallucinating, convinced he was seeing food.

Specifically, an iced pink Victoria sandwich, a specialty of his mothers.

As the hallucinations intensified and started to include cartoons from his childhood and

other sightings, Jones decided to keep his head down, looking straight at the ground,

in hopes the hallucinations would go away.

Finally, he looked up and breathed a sigh of reliefhe had reached the vehicle track!

But there was still a lot more ground he needed to cover.

Jones found a sturdy stick and used it as a makeshift crutch to cover more ground, with

a renewed enthusiasm now that he had reached signs of human life.

He was still a few miles away from the town of Fagaras, and certainly some distance away

from reaching the first person on the outskirts of the village.

After about 1.9 miles (3 kilometers), Jones glanced up and saw a house.

For a moment, he couldnt believe what he was seeing.

For four days and three nights he had crawled down the frozen mountain in a desperate search

for help without encountering a single human being.

Even a sighting of Draculas castle would have been welcome.

Suddenly, there was an actual house.

And a man inside the house watching TV.

He knocked on the door, realizing his mangled appearance might scare the houses occupants.

An old man answered, with a younger, larger man not far behind him.

Though at first, they were apprehensive, once they realized Jonesweakened state, the

younger man carried him in and offered him a drink, food, and a change of clothes.

The men also fetched a boy from the village named Bogdan, who spoke some English, to help


At this point, Jones was starting to feel weak.

After Bogdans arrival, on the verge of passing out, he faintly asked for an ambulance.

After stopping at two smaller, regional hospitals that didnt have the equipment to even attempt

to treat him, Jones had to ride over three hours to a city hospital in Brasov, where

he was admitted.

However, as many people say, bad luck comes in threes.

After surviving two avalanches and miraculously making it to a hospital, you would think Jones

ordeal would be over.

However, the 26-year-old Brit wasnt in the clear just yet.

Jones was hungry, frostbitten and emaciated.

His ordeal had left him quite a bit worse for wear, but he hoped that in the hospital

he would make a speedy recovery.

Then a few days in, something changed.

Jones started deteriorating rapidly.

The stress of his torturous ordeal had wreaked havoc on his internal organs, and most importantly

in his stomach.

After several days of unbelievable stress on the mountain, hyperactive acid levels in

Jonesstomach had perforated his stomach lining, spilling out acids and other toxins

throughout his body.

Jones went into shock and doctors thought he would die.

He even remembers seeing a member of his medical team apologizing to his mother for not being

able to save him right before he blacked out completely.

But the ex-military hiker had one more trick up his sleeve.

After doctors removed two thirds of his stomach and his duodenum, not only did he make a full

recovery, becoming stable enough to return to the UK after three weeks in Romania; after

months of intensive physical therapy and the help of a top hip surgeon, the man who doctors

said would never walk again got up to walk almost two years later.

Today, Jones leads a very active lifestyle, training intensely as a cyclist.

His experience of survival on the mountain is still something he carries with him, and

Jones said it has opened him up and given him a new perspective.

That cold January in Romania, Ken Jones was hit with two waves of bad luck in the form

of massive, deadly avalanches.

However, his incredible survival has become an inspirational story of what people can

achieve when faced with the impossible, and a testament to the unbelievable endurance

of the human mind and body.

Now we have a challenge for you, though its going to be a bit easier than what Ken Jones

had to go through, and thats choosing which video to watch next!

Weve got another great survival video over here or if youre ready for something different

pick the video over here instead!

The Description of Man Pulls Himself Out Of Not One But Two Avalanches (In The Same Day) - True Survival Story