An American academic has filmed his escape from "certain" death as he crawled in agony to safety after falling 20 metres into a Himalayan mountain crevasse, breaking his arm, ribs and suffering severe cuts and bruises.
John All, a geography lecturer from West Kentucky University who specialises in mountain science, was collecting snow samples on the seven kilometre high Mount Himlung, close to Everest in the Nepal Himalaya, when he fell into a deep crevasse which had been hidden by recent heavy snow.
His body ricocheted between the walls of the crevasse as he fell before he landed on a precarious ice ridge 20 metres down but more than 90 metres from the bottom.
He spent the next six hours in excruciating agony, crawling inch by inch with his ice pick, knowing that one slip would cause him to fall to a certain death.
"My body was shattered and I was in agony," he told The Telegraph last night.
"My face hit one wall, my back and stomach hit the back wall and I bounced between them. My face was pretty torn up. I landed on a piece of ice at a midpoint.
"I could have fallen another 100 metres and it's amazing I didn't. The entire time climbing out I knew if I slipped I would have been dead," he said.
Dr All's ribs were shattered and his chances of successfully climbing out were slim. His right arm, his stronger, was broken and his injuries had sapped his strength.
But despite his agony and the constant threat of death, he slowly pulled himself up, zigzagging slowly to make sure he did not slip again on soft snow on top of the ice.
He also took several video clips of his predicament and remarkable struggle to survive.
He climbed for six hours to get out of the crevasse and then another three to reach his tent where he rested in pain until he was rescued the following morning. He is now recovering in a Kathmandu hotel from where he spoke about his accident.
Dr All, 44, and his team of mountain scientists had earlier planned to climb the south summit of Everest but had been diverted by the avalanche that killed 16 Sherpas and led to the climbing season being cancelled, amid protests.
Last night he said that, although he was not married and did not have children, the thought of his mother and friends kept him focused on survival.
"Your survival instinct kicks in and that's why I filmed the video - I couldn't allow myself any doubt," he said.
He is now planning his next mountain trip to Peru next month.
The Telegraph, London
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