“Not only was it a building collapse, but it occurred in an alpine environment with snow and cold temperatures, something we hadn’t really faced before.”- David Lewis, Fire and Rescue NSW assistant commissioner.
One of the worst accidents in ski history occurred twenty-five years ago in Australia. On July 30th, the Australian Associated Press and Thredbo Resort commemorated one of the darkest days in the country’s history.
Just before midnight on July 30, 1997, a 3500-ton landslide at Thredbo Resort in Australia led to the complete destruction of two of their lodges. Eighteen people died from what was one of the most tragic disasters in Australia’s history. In 2000, it was discovered that the landslide happened due to “water from a leaking main saturated an embankment on the Alpine Way road.” The ground collapsed near the two lodges, leading to the Carinya splitting in half, and sliding downhill toward the Bimbadeen staff lodge, destroying that in the process. On July 30, 2022, Thredbo commemorated the event by holding a torchlight ceremony down one of their ski slopes.
The only survivor was a ski instructor named Stuart Driver. His wife tragically died in the landslide, and it took several days to rescue Stuart from one of the collapsed lodges. It took several days for rescue crews to find Stuart. He survived thanks to a small pocket of air, along with having a jacket and a blanket. Today, Stuart serves as the General Manager of Thredbo Resort. Stuart said the following about the tragic events:
“Everyone remembers where they were on that day, when the landslide ended. I’m really no different to anyone else, I just happened to go through an unfortunate situation and come through the other end.”