/ Dutch prince avalanched - survives wearing beacon.
Royalty are not immune from avalanches
Although he appears to be in a significantly worse state than that BBC report suggests, however without the beacon, he would be dead.
The comment "it would be several days before a full prognosis could be given." doesn't sound too good.
I hope he pulls through OK
The reports I've seen imply that it's a much better idea to be wearing _both_ an avalanche beacon and an Avalung.
(and a much much better idea not to get into an avalanche at all)
I'm sure an air bag would be even better still.....and it's something I would consider if money was no object.
In any case hope he recovers.
> The reports I've seen imply that it's a much better idea to be wearing _both_ an avalanche beacon and an Avalung.
> (and a much much better idea not to get into an avalanche at all)
Perceived wisdom nowadays is that airbag backpacks are now the best avalanche protection tools but to be worn in conjunction with a transciever. Unfortunately they tend to be heavy and really expensive and are difficult to travel with as they contain explosif charges.
The risk that day in Lech was 4/5 (Fact from Lech website). He was wearing a transceiver, but it was not his companion who found him (Reuters). It was the rescue team, and he was under the snow for about 20 minutes (Reuters). As a result he is likely to have suffered oxygen deprivation to the brain, resulting in brain-damage (Time is Life, Avalanche First Aid DVD).
Your best chance of survival in an avalanche is swift rescue by your companions. Survival rates for buried victims are approx 92% if dug out within 15-18 minutes. This then plummets to aprox 35% after 30 minutes (Time is Life DVD).
A lot of this info is at the following Avalanche Resource Page: http://www.avalancheacademy.com/page.asp?id=resources
> really expensive and are difficult to travel with as they contain explosif charges.
i think they have improved in both respects....quite a good summary here:
discussing both Avalung and airbags -- and making the key point that it's very beneficial to ski with at least one of the them in addition to a beacon.
The one point I disagree with on that page is that wide use of airbags will save lives.
I do think _some_ people will be safer with an airbags, and they will save some people's lives. But many other skiers will use the airbag as a means to ski more dangerous slopes sooner after the last snowfall. And discover that there are other ways to die from avalanches than burial (and that there are some avalanches big + deep enough to bury you despite wearing an airbag).
Especially for lift-served off-piste skiing, I think the main long-term effect of airbags will be to "raise the bar" of competition to get out there first for untracked snow.
The death reports of skiers wearing airbags are already appearing.
Key psychological difference between an Avalung and an airbag:
Avalung makes you think you'll have a better chance of surviving the avalanche, but it will still be a very grim experience.
Airbag makes you think surviving an avalanche will be an exciting fun experience.
Hope I'm wrong.
in off-piste riding:
Deliberately triggering an avalanche so that you can ride one on your airbag.
(perhaps it's not even necessary to know how to snowboard or ski?)
The leading-edge ski stations will use artificial snowmaking during the night to create snow slabs of requested depths and widths. Next morning they're ready to be released for riders who have paid handsomely.
They'll have the underlying weak-bonding layer "tuned" so the rider can be dropped onto the slab from above, and the rider's own impact is just right to release the avalanche. The opening of the airbag could be remotely triggered by radio, just in case the rider fumbles.
Merely skiing untracked powder will seem so old-fashioned.
The idea that because you're more likely to survive a slide, you're less risk averse is expored in detail here:
Unfortunately he remains in a coma.
According to Dutch media there won't be a new assessment on his condition until the end of the week at the earliest. Anything else is pure speculation.
Just been announced on the BBC News that he has suffered massive and irreversable brain damage from oxygen starvation and may never regain consciousness.
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