Home' Aurora : Aurora December 2012 Contents 18
Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle www.mn.catholic.org.au
By LAURA RAE
THESE WERE SOME of the last
words nineteen year old Andrew
Rae ever expected to say. A day
that started with as much pleasure
and happiness as one could believe,
soon gave way to a horrific freak
accident that left him struggling to
Living in England for the year, Andrew
had embarked on a tour of Europe
over the summer. On this day he had
ventured up one of the highest peaks
on the continent, the Jungfrau. It's
a popular tourist destination and
so you are free to wander around
and enjoy the magnificence of the
Swiss Alps at your leisure. Andrew, a
keen photographer, set off with his
girlfriend to admire their beautiful
"It seems a silly cliché when someone
says that their life flashed before
their eyes, and I guess you can never
understand what it really means until
it actually happens," he said.
In a freak accident, the snow he was
walking on gave way to reveal a large
crevasse, and he fell between two
narrow ice shafts.
"I thought, I'm too young to die, and
kicked out with my legs and slammed
my back against the wall...it slowed
my fall and then stopped me."
Faced with the impossibility of
climbing back out, Andrew set about
trying to make holes for his hands in
the ice. It worked for a while, until his
body heat began to melt the tough ice
surrounding him, causing him to slip
further into the dark chasm.
"The further down I went, the darker
and lonelier it got."
With the grim reality of a painfully
slow death at the front of his mind, he
let himself slowly slip until he landed
on an ice shelf a further ten metres
below. Clinging to the faint hope that
his girlfriend may have seen him fall
and gone to get help, he sat down
and played a waiting game.
"I occasionally screamed out for help.
I knew no one would be able to hear
me but it made me feel like I was
doing something to help myself and it
was slightly comforting."
But as the minutes then hours ticked
by, Andrew realised his chances
of being rescued were becoming
slimmer by the minute.
"I contemplated jumping off [the ice
ledge]. It seems strange, but the
narrow walls and the darkness of
the corridor that I stood in seemed
strangely inviting in its mystery," he
The walls of ice began to close
in around him, turning an already
desperate situation into one
of seeming hopelessness. The
waiting game now involved minutes,
"I did something then that I never
"Sometimes in life things don t always go to plan. I am currently stuck in a massive ice canyon in Switzerland and I
don t know if I will make it out. But I am not giving up hope."
Editor's note: Laura told me this story, and I invited her to share it, with her brother Andrew's permission, with
FEATURE YOUR BUSINESS
inserted monthly into the Newcastle Herald, Maitland Mercury, Scone Advocate,
Singleton Argus, Muswellbrook Chronicle and Manning River Times.
CONTACT CRAIG SLAVEK
P 4979 5259 • E firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrew Rae in Switzerland.
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