“There were stones the size of a car”: the testimony of the couple who was trapped in the middle of an avalanche

Originally from the city of La Plata, Lucila Collado 35 years old and Ivan Nichi 33, began their return to the town of Bariloche after having spent a night in the San Martín mountain refuge, located near Lake Jakob. Although they are not elite professionals, both go hiking on various occasions, but this time, the ending was not as expected.

As they walked down the hill, the couple was surprised by avalanche of mud, water, rocks and shattered branches. Both were trapped in a landslide that almost cost them their lives and in which the young woman took the worst part: she was buried under the mud and suffered severe injuries that required her left leg to be amputated.

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Lucila Collado (35) and Iván Nichi (33) in Bariloche. (Photo: 0221).

After the tragedy, it was learned that when leaving the shelter like so many other people that same day; no one told them that the administration of the Nahuel Huapi National Park had issued a statement in which he urged people not to circulate in the area during the yellow alert of the National Meteorological Service (SMN), which included electric storms.

Without having that information, Lucila and Iván began the descent towards the city and while they were provided with water in a stream on the way to Tambo de Báez, a plate of material, generated an avalanche full of stones, mud, pieces of trees and even rocks.

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A couple from La Plata was the victim of an avalanche in Bariloche.  (Photo: Newspaper 0221).

A couple from La Plata was the victim of an avalanche in Bariloche. (Photo: Newspaper 0221).

The stream of mud reached them and a man named Juan, who was also in the place, and dragged them down the river. Fortunately Iván managed to get out and, badly beaten, he saw that Lucila kept her head out of the quagmire, so he lifted her up so she could breathe easier.

The young man observed that Lucila’s leg had at least two open fractures (later it was found out that it was from the tibia and fibula) and he lost a lot of blood, so he made a tourniquet while Juan ran to the Tambo de Báez to ask for help.

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An hour later, Lucila was taken by helicopter to the Zonal Hospital, where they managed to save her after a complex three-hour operation in which lost left leg (from the knee down). “She was aware all the time that she was going to lose her leg,” Iván explained, adding that she is “trying to be as strong as she can” to be able to support her partner.

Lucila lost her left leg.  (Photo: Newspaper 0221).

Lucila lost her left leg. (Photo: Newspaper 0221).

“I never thought to see something like this, to have the person you love in front of your eyes and have an avalanche take her away. Lucila was buried under rocks, trunks, and mud, and there were rocks the size of a car.”recounted Juan and added: I got desperate and skirted the river as much as I could, while I watched how the water and mud sucked it up. I didn’t hesitate and went looking for her. At that moment I heard a scream, she had stayed with her head above the surface, something almost impossible due to the size of the trunks. When I managed to lift her up, I saw that a giant stone was crushing her leg and had it split in two.”.

“The doctors affirm that it is a miracle,” acknowledged her boyfriend and assured that this was “the worst hour” of her life. “I would like to highlight the enormous help that the person who accompanied us gave us because he never left our side. He watched everything, asked for help and stayed with my girlfriend when I went to ask for help too. If it weren’t for him, we’d be dead.”he pointed.

In addition, Juan insisted on pointing out that they were not aware of the yellow alert. “we were not reckless; from the shelter they not only did not notify us of the storm alert, but they did not warn anyone, they let people down without warning them of anything”, he indicated and clarified that there was no telephone signal in the sector. “No one told us that a storm was coming. We were not aware of storm. We were surprised from one moment to the next by the downpour”he assured.

Written by Argentina News

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