Cranbrook resident writes of harrowing earthquake experience

Anne Coulter safe in Katmandu, awaiting return of Jim Campbell from devastated Langtang Valley

  • Apr. 29, 2015 8:00 p.m.

Cranbrook residents Anne Coulter and Jim Campbell are back in contact with friends and family after a harrowing experience in Nepal. Coulter and Campbell were caught up in the earthquake that devastated the Himalayan country Saturday, and were also hit by a subsequent avalanche.

Coulter explained in a letter posted on social media that she had just made it back to Katmandu, and was waiting for Campbell to join her. Coulter had injured her ankle in the avalanche, and was airlifted back to the city separately.

Coulter wrote of what happened when the avalanche struck.

“Jim and I were having a lovely trek up the beautiful Langtang valley and had just arrived at the upper village of Kygin Gompa and were in the process of ordering lunch when the quake hit. There was a tremendous noise and the walls started to crumble and the floor was shaking back and forth like we were sand being sifted.”

They made it out into the open, but found themselves in the path of the avalanche.

“Nima (their guide) yelled and we all ran for cover and made it behind the same teahouse just in time,” Coulter wrote. “I tried to crawl under a bench as stone from the walls were crashing down on top of me but my legs stuck out and that’s when my ankle got injured — not broken but bruised and swollen and sore — good enough to get me on the last helicopter flight on Monday.”

Coulter, Campbell and Nima then dug out a friend from Sweden, and started making their way back to the village of Langtang, thinking the larger town would be a better place to be.

“We had to take cover behind large boulders when the aftershocks occurred and rocks falls happened,” Coulter wrote. “(We) then tried to help a very badly injured tourist into a still standing structure and then found out that Langtang village had been completely wiped out by an enormous avalanche.

“It is doubtful that anyone who had been in the village, tourist or local, has survived.”

There was one structure at the top of the hill — a medical centre that had been built to withstand earthquakes. The roof had been blown off by the avalanche but the walls were perfect, Coulter wrote. That’s where they spent the night.

It had snowed heavily since the quake, Coulter wrote, and everything was soaking.

“There was a very badly injured girl that we tucked into my sleeping bag and thermorest, so glad I had bothered to take it. Then we just gathered wood and tried to keep our spirits up and hope more people made it down.”

Survivors kept trickling in throughout the night.

An army helicopter arrived in the morning, after a cold, rainy night, and started ferrying the injured out to safety. Coulter and Campbell ended up spending another night at the shelter.  “We had built a roof overhead so we were drier at least,” Coulter wrote. “Eating consisted of group rice eaten from a bag and using your hands … some treats we still had left and what ever anyone else had to share.

“Monday rolled around, and when the chopper came for the last run of the day (the weather had been very iffy with lots of mist and low clouds) and they made room for the somewhat injured. So Nima showed off my lovely purple ankle and I got on board leaving Jim and Nima and all our new friends behind.”

In Katmandu, Coulter was given a tent to sleep in (everyone was sleeping outside, COulter wrote, in case buildings collapsed), and “food and so much kindness.”

As of her writing the letter, Coulter was still waiting for Campbell to get out, but wanted to assure friends and family that she was fine.

Just Posted

The latest EKASS survey confirms a steady decline in substance use among EK youth over the years. (image compilation via Pixabay)
Latest survey shows steady decline in adolescent substance use over the years

Starting in 2002, the survey has been conducted every two years to monitor changes in substance use patterns, attitudes and behaviors amongst East Kootenay youth.

The Aquatic Centre at Western Financial Place.
Cranbrook Aquatic Center to close temporarily

The annual shutdown of the Aquatic Center at Western Financial Place will begin earlier than scheduled this year and does not have a defined end date at this time.

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

It happened this week in 1914

June 6 -12: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers held at the Cranbrook History Centre and Archives

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Thursday, June 10, mentioned Grand Forks among two other COVID “hot spots” in B.C. Photo: Screenshot - YouTube COVID-19 BC Update, June 10, 2021
PHO Henry says West Kootenay city is a COVID ‘hot spot’ in B.C.

There are 11 cases of COVID-19 in the Grand Forks local health area, according the BC CDC

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read