Doctors blown away after Italian man survives being buried under an avalanche for 23 hours

News & Politics

An impressively fit 54-year-old Italian skier managed to do the impossible by surviving almost a full day buried beneath an avalanche, according to Mirror. Not only has the man had to relearn how to walk, he even has his sights set on getting back out on the slopes.

Physicians cannot understand how Carluccio Sartori did not die after an avalanche collapsed on top of him while he was out skiing in the Val Badia mountains in Italy’s South Tyrol range. After he was discovered, he was both conscious and able to talk.

The New York Post reported that after 14 months of recovery, Sartori has managed to start walking again and started a careful return to the mountains again.

“I’ve done a few ski mountaineering trips this year but I continue to be treated by the same doctors, we’re friends now. I have some problems with my right hand, but otherwise I’m fine. Not even the doctors can explain how it’s possible,” Sartori said.

“My right foot had small problems, but it is on the mend. In short, the right hand still suffers from changes in temperatures, even if I manage to close it completely: I am happy to still have it intact.”

Sartori’s medical team have struggled to understand how he survived beneath the snow for that long. It seemed like a big miracle.

“Not even the doctors can explain it,” the 54-year-old said. “I should have died after the first eight or 10 hours.”

“When they found me I was conscious and with a body temperature of 23 degrees, everything was working perfectly.” In other words, his body temperature was about 73 degrees Fahrenheit, which represents the third “severe” stage of hypothermia.

“For them it was inexplicable. The doctors have said that I have a perfect physique. I play sports, I go mountain biking, but I’m not a fanatic about healthy eating. I don’t smoke, it’s true, but every now and then I drink wine and beer.”

The Sierra Avalanche Association reported that most deaths caused by avalanches are due to asphyxiation, which is heavily dependent on time.

The chances of surviving after 15 minutes is about 95% but the likelihood dramatically decreases to just 37% after just 35 minutes.

Sartori mentioned that there was a funnel that led to the surface of the snow, which allowed him the ability to breathe while physically restrained beneath the avalanche.

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