British climber buried under avalanche in Sierra Nevada

LAST UPDATED: 22 Feb, 2011 @ 17:17
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British climber buried under avalanche in Sierra Nevada

THE risk of a second avalanche is holding up the search for a British climber buried under snow in the Sierra Nevada.

Expat John Hogbin, a widower with a four-year-old child, was hiking with friends when an avalanche struck on Sunday.

The others, Salva and Julio, managed to escape unharmed but were unable to rescue their friend due to the depth of snow in the Barranco de San Juan area.

Salva told Ideal: “John went first and he told us to spread out for safety with about 10 metres between us.

“Suddenly I heard like three thunderclaps, I looked at John an instant, and then turned round.

“Then I saw like a wave coming towards us, and I tried to remember what to do in such a situation.

“But you are never prepared for something like this, I threw myself into it as if it was the sea, and began to move my arms to keep me above the surface and managed to find space to breathe.

“When I finally stopped the first thing I did was to call 112.”

A team of 133 soldiers are now involved in the hunt to find the 42-year-old mechanic, who lives in Zafarraya, with his son.

The search has so far only uncovered his axe.

According to sources, chances of now finding the victim alive are “practically nil.”

Experienced climber Jose Maria ‘Chechu’ Rada Calvo, whose business Snowpeople, regularly takes groups into the barranco, said: “When the conditions are right it is beautiful, but it can be very dangerous and you have to respect the mountain.”

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