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Link: www.youtube.com/watch

On the 30th July, 1997 I was awoken by a sudden roar. I looked at the alarm clock at it was about 11.35pm. Thinking that it was a gust of wind passing I didn’t take much notice. The gust of wind got gradually louder and louder until I realized it was something else. It was like a whoosh of air racing down the mountain. I was a ski instructor at the time of the landslide. I was married to Sally and we were both twenty three years old.

I remember it being pitch black. I couldn’t see anything around me. We were living in the Thredbo Alpine Village in NSW, in the Brimbadeen Ski Lodge. Sally and I lived there as we worked on the mountain. Brimbadeen was a four-storey apartment block and we lived on the bottom floor.

Suddenly and without notice the roof came falling in on us. About 3500 tons of debris came down the mountain. Our four story Brimbadeen Lodge collapsed down the slope leaving us under the nearby Carinya Lodge. Sally my wife died beside me from drowning.

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On Thursday the 31st July the Thredbo site was declared safe enough to start the rescue operations. A medical team arrived and inspected the disaster site. Many rescue workers themselves needed sudden treatment. The minus zero temperatures made the workers efforts difficult causing them hypothermia and exhaustion.

On Saturday the 1st of August I didn’t know if I was hallucinating or not. I heard “rescue team working overhead, can anyone hear me?” “I can hear you” I replied. “Have you sustained any injuries” I replied “no but my feet are bloody cold.”

I couldn’t believe help had finally arrived.  A lifeline pipe was passed down a gap between two concrete slabs which provided me warm air. Another pipe was passed down to give me fluids.

There was a lot of work to be done because I was two meters below the rescue workers. Five hours later they cleared enough rubble and debris for them to be able to touch me. A paramedic Paul Featherstone comforted me by talking to me for eleven hours. I was so grateful for his help. It was a long and slow process because every time they had removed rubble and debris they would fear for my safety. After sixty –five long hours and through slow and carful process they were able to lift me out of the wreckage that evening.

The sky looked fantastic. I was happy to be alive