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Battling with nature

Four people talk about their stories of survival

A. Lester Morlang was buried in an avalanche in Colorado.

There was no warning. It was instant. All of a sudden I was curled in a ball. Then it was over and I was buried under about fifty feet of snow. It was totally dark. My mouth was packed with snow and the pressure was enormous. It was hard to breathe and I didnít know which direction was up. I thought I was already dead. Luckily I had my hands over my face so I cleared the snow out of my mouth and then I started screaming. I absolutely lost it Ė I was out of my mind, and then I noticed my tears were running across my face so I realized I must be lying kind of upside down. Now I felt determined to get out. I dug for twenty two hours, and when I finally saw the first bit of light I was over the moon, although it was fourteen hours before anyone found me. My misfortune has made me a better person; trivial things donít worry me anymore.

B. Rod Herd was on a boat with the New Zealand Police Search and Rescue team when he nearly drowned.

When we hit the wave, I was thrown against the window, which smashed and let in a tremendous volume of water. There was no air, just pitch darkness, noise, and violent movement. I had no idea the boat had overturned. I felt sad, anxious and despairing, and the fear of drowning was unbearable. I couldnít hold my breath any longer and at this point I had a vision of my wife and sons waving me goodbye, and I felt at peace. But then I grabbed a stair rail and found myself back in the real world. I managed to pull myself up to the surface and then had to deal with the shock and hypothermia. Periods of shivering became painful. Trying to stay afloat kept my mind off it, although I had to fight the desire to go to sleep. When the helicopter arrived soon afterwards, I vividly remember feeling disconnected from the people who were there to save me. And in the months afterwards I never felt completely warm. Being afraid of dying was the most terrifying thing. Itís impossible for someone to understand what it feels like and Iím still not sure how long the emotional after-effects will last.

C. John Neidigh survived a tornado in Mississippi.

I heard the warning on the television and had just enough time to lie down and cover my head with my arms. The feel of a twister approaching is like a goods train Ė that low, ever-louder howl and the shuddering ground. First, a sheet of rain sprayed against the side of my trailer like machine-gun fire. I could hear trees snapping, and the roof began to come off as the trailer started moving up and down. Just as I felt the entire trailer lift off the ground, I lost consciousness and woke up twenty minutes later face-down outside. The evening was completely quiet, no wind, no cars, no insect noises. I had gone through the trailer wall, ended up thirty feet up in a tree, and then dropped to the ground. I had concussion, a collapsed lung, cracked ribs and a shattered leg. My injuries should have killed me but the surgeons sewed me back together again.

Date: 2015-12-18; view: 2281

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