A five year old British girl is lucky to be alive after getting trapped in an icy tunnel at Alpe d’Huez resort in the French Alps. The Daily Mail reports Penelope “Penny” Oborne was skiing with her classmates at ski school when she became separated from the group and veered into a river gully that is normally covered by snow.
The warm spring weather and snowmelt created a hole in the snow which Penny fell through. The swift river current sucked the poor girl 30 meters downstream before getting stuck between the riverbank and the shelf of snow.
Thankfully her ski instructor heard her muffled screams and was able to rope off and climb down to search for her but the shelf she on was too low to bring her to safety by himself. Rescuers were called who eventually reached her by using snow shovels to smash through the surface.
When rescuers finally reached Penny her body temp had fallen dangerously low to 87.8F (well below the hypothermic levels) and she was barely conscious. Penny’s dad spoke with The Daily Mail and had this to say about his daughter’s ordeal:
“Penny’s account is that she was trapped and stuck in this tunnel under the ice. She couldn’t raise her helmet as the freezing cold water was pouring down. She was clearly terrified.”
Penny was airlifted to Grenoble hospital where she had a remarkably swift recovery and was released after only five hours. Her dad was proud of how she bounce back:
“We are very proud that she’s come through and she’s back skiing again. I don’t think she has really got much memory; she says she remembers being asleep, a man coming into the tunnel and vaguely being in a helicopter. It hasn’t knocked her confidence and she was determined to get back out there. She was more worried about the packet of sweeties and made sure she got them back.”
[images from alpedhuez instagram]