A SKIER has told of her terrifying two-hour rescue ordeal after she collapsed in agony on a remote 9,000ft slope.
BBC journalist Angie Brown, from Comiston, was traversing a treacherous mountain gully high in the French Alps when a ligament ruptured in her knee.
Unable to move as temperatures plummeted to minus 15 degrees, Angie had to be dragged down a slope and carried on the back of a guide before being airlifted to hospital.
“It’s been terrible, a nightmare,” Angie, 42, told the Evening News this afternoon. “I’m still in a bit of shock.”
The drama unfolded on Wednesday as experienced skier Angie and a group of friends went off-piste on the third day of a week-long break at the La Pagne resort.
Her party of about 20 had safely negotiated a couloir, or mountain gully, in the morning with their guide and returned at around midday to tackle the north face.
“I was taking these short, regular turns and I just crashed and lay there like I was dead - my knee was so sore,” said Angie, a former Evening News reporter.
“It was agony and I must’ve lay there face down in the snow for about ten minutes.”
With no chance of rescue from the remote spot, Angie’s guide had no choice but to carry her on his back to the nearest plateau.
“He was really small but it turns out he’s really strong because he’s a mountain climber,” said Angie.
“It was really scary being on someone’s back skiing down a cliff. It was terrifying and I had to put my arms around his chest and I could feel him breathing. He was an absolute hero.”
Two guides then had to drag Angie backwards the rest of the way to a plateau so a military helicopter could land.
“It was so cold, I couldn’t feel my hands or my feet - it was excruciating. The helicopter tried to get in close and it just blew up all the snow. It was like getting sandblasted in the face, I couldn’t see anything.
“In the helicopter I just started crying. I was convulsing, I was in so much agony.”
And the experience has made her uncertain of tackling similar extreme feats in future. “It just goes to show how quickly you can go from a nice ski to a terrifying two hours,” she said.
Angie was airlifted to the nearest hospital in La Plagne where doctors confirmed a tear of her medial collateral ligament in her right knee.
They sent her back to her hotel on strong painkillers and her leg in a brace.
She also gets a daily visit from the nurse to administer blood-thinning injections so she can make her flight home on Sunday.
But under strict orders to rest-up for three weeks before starting physio, superactive Angie has had to write-off an ultramarathon in Morocco in March.
And worse still, an annual Burns Night tradition on her annual skiing trip has become another casualty.
“I normally wear a kilt,” said Angie. “It gets a really good reception on the slopes - the kilt will have to stay in the cupboard this year.”
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