“Sometimes in life things don’t always go to plan. I am currently stuck in a massive ice canyon in Switzerland and I don’t know if I will make it out. But I am not giving up hope.”
These were some of the last words Andrew Rae, 19, ever expected to say. A day that started with as much pleasure and happiness as one could believe, soon gave way to a horrific freak accident that left him struggling to survive, writes his sister, Laura Rae, in Aurora.
Living in England for the year, Andrew had embarked on a tour of Europe over the summer. On this day he had ventured up one of the highest peaks on the continent, the Jungfrau. It’s a popular tourist destination so you are free to wander around and enjoy the magnificence of the Swiss Alps at your leisure. Andrew, a keen photographer, set off with his girlfriend to admire their beautiful surroundings.
“It seems a silly cliché when someone says that their life flashed before their eyes, and I guess you can never understand what it really means until it actually happens,” he said.
In a freak accident, the snow he was walking on gave way to reveal a large crevasse, and he fell between two narrow ice shafts.
“I thought, I’m too young to die, and kicked out with my legs and slammed my back against the wall...it slowed my fall and then stopped me.”
Faced with the impossibility of climbing back out, Andrew set about trying to make holes for his hands in the ice. It worked for a while, until his body heat began to melt the tough ice surrounding him, causing him to slip further into the dark chasm.
“The further down I went, the darker and lonelier it got.”
With the grim reality of a painfully slow death at the front of his mind, he let himself slowly slip until he landed on an ice shelf a further ten metres below. Clinging to the faint hope that his girlfriend may have seen him fall and gone to get help, he sat down and played a waiting game.
FULL STORY Touching the void (Aurora)