Ten people, including nine Britons, are reported to have survived after a huge avalanche swept over them in the Tian Shan mountains in Kyrgyzstan.
Footage uploaded on Instagram by Harry Shimmin, one of the people on the trekking tour, showed snow starting to break down a mountain in the distance, before sweeping towards them and forcing the group to take cover as the snow went over the top of them.
Shimmin had broken away from the guided tour group to take photographs when he heard “the sound of deep ice cracking behind me”, according to an account he posted alongside the video.
He added: “I’d been there for a few minutes already so I knew there was a spot for shelter right next to me.
“I left it to the last second to move, and yes I know it would have been safer moving to the shelter right away. I’m very aware that I took a big risk. I felt in control, but regardless, when the snow started coming over and it got dark/harder to breathe, I was bricking it and I thought I might die.”
The Tian Shan mountains mainly straddle south-eastern Kyrgyzstan and its north-east border with China. They formed part of the ancient Silk Road trading route from the Middle East and Asia to the west.
Shimmin said he knew the rest of his group was further away, so would be safe, and wrote of feeling “giddy” when he realized he was only covered in light powder “without a scratch”. They had been due to walk the path of the avalanche shortly afterwards.
“We would have only heard the roar before lights out,” he said.
Other members of the group – which also included an American – suffered a cut knee, while one fell off a horse.
Shimmin added: “The whole group was laughing and crying, happy to be alive (including the girl who cut her knee). It was only later we realized just how lucky we’d been. If we had walked five minutes further on our trek, we would all be dead.”