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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Student Essay - Survival – by Kim Dong Yoon, Year 10, Sayfol International School

Survival – by Kim Dong Yoon, Year 10, Sayfol International School

It all happened in mid-January, in a remote, snowy mountain in Western Austria. It had been snowing the night before, bringing a layer of fresh snow on the ground. My friends and I decided to go the Alps to ski as fresh snow is an ideal platform to ski on. My friends and I prepared our skiing equipment and our best skis. We also took with us some food and water. We were driving to our destination but had to stop halfway as the snow was too deep. 

Our destination consisted of a terrace of mountains, at least 500 metres high. The temperature was -5°C but on the peak the temperature could drop to about -30°C. We had to climb the mountain with the skis on our back and eventually, we reached the top. The view was amazing – an ocean of snow filled our vision. We put on our skis and started to ski downhill, unaware of the impending danger. After about half an hour of skiing, we entered a forest. My friends were lagging behind me so I shouted for them to come. Suddenly, a large crack resonated through the air. Then, sounds of rolling thunder started to close in. I looked up and there was a wall of snow and mist plunging towards us. It was an avalanche!

We removed our skis and quickly held on to nearby trees. My friends were lucky to have grabbed strong, healthy, sturdy trees while I, unfortunately, grabbed an old tree which was a bit shaky. Very quickly, the trees standing in the path of the avalanche started to collapse. Instantly, the snow which was as strong as concrete, rushed past us. The trees helped to split the snow which made it easier for us to stay firm. However, my tree started to shake violently and slowly started to lean towards the foot of the mountain. The snow was travelling at about 120 kilometres per hour. I could see neither shapes nor objects, merely white snow. Finally, the tree snapped and I was carried down the mountain by the avalanche. It was like a tsunami of solid ice and I was left at the mercy of it. I remember crashing into several trees until my head hit the trunk of a tree, after which I blacked out.

Consciousness returned to me but it was quite perplexing as everything was pitch black. It took me a bit of time to realise that I was enclosed within heavy snow. I knew I had a limited supply of air and I noticed that both my legs were broken. Everything seemed rather hopeless and there was only a slim chance of survival but I had a strong will to live on. I started to dig my way upwards with my hands. They started to bleed and I was running out of air. Breathing was becoming difficult and something suddenly came to my mind. I took out my empty water bottle and inhaled the air inside. I decided to stay still to conserve my energy but I soon became dizzy and death closed in. I closed my eyes slowly and as I did so, a stream of light entered. 

I remember being pulled out and my friends calling to me. I slowly opened my eyes and the fresh air that I took into my lungs was as sweet as sugar and as refreshing as sparkling water. I had been rescued by my friends; I had survived a snowy jail.  

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