Val Badia, ski mountaineer found alive after 23 hours in the snow: «igloo effect»

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It stood at a temperature of -15 degrees for over twenty hours. So when rescuers found Carluccio Sartoria 54-year-old ski mountaineer, originally from Villanova Marchesana, still alive despite the avalanche that swept him away on Alpe di Fanes in Val Badia, thought it was a miracle. Despite his very serious conditions, the man was still able to speak and understand. According to initial hypotheses, the accident would have occurred on Thursday around 12, while the discovery took place 23 hours later.

It was found because the snow had left one arm uncovered, and Sartori also had the Arva devicethe electronic device for locating people buried under avalanches, which in this specific case proved to be crucial because he led the rescuers to the accident area. The explanation of the «miracle» can be offered by the circumstances in which Sartori was found: his body was in a sort of very narrow room formed by large cubes of snow «hard as concrete». This particular conformation of the snow would have made it possible the «igloo effect» which would have kept the ski mountaineer alive despite the extremely cold temperatures. In these hours, the man has been awakened from a pharmacological coma and it would not be life threatening.

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«We alarmed the emergency services when we saw that dad didn’t get the messages from early afternoon and did not answer calls,” he told al Corriere della Sera daughter Irene. “I asked my mom and uncles if they’d heard of it. Nothing. At that point I contacted the Sass Dlacia campsite in San Cassiano where she was staying: they knocked on the camper and nobody was there. Therefore, it is inevitable to hear from the Alpine Rescue that the search network has been activated”.

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Source: Vanity Fair

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