SAN DIEGO — An Encinitas woman who survived the devastating avalanche in Nepal shared her story Tuesday with FOX 5.
“I looked at our guide and he just yelled, ‘Earthquake, run!’” said Kat Heldman.
Heldman said the earthquake sounded like people stomping. She ran outside the tea house where she and three other locals were resting, only to find an avalanche waiting to strike.
“Someone yelled, ‘avalanche, run!’ And that’s what we did. We all just started yelling for our lives.”
Heldman and her husband Kevin Krogh were with two other local climbers, Brigida Martinez and Oscar Olea, on a 28-day hiking expedition when tragedy struck on day seven.
“I’m gonna die, that’s what I was thinking,” said Heldman. “I felt as if snow was burying me. I felt as if I was being buried in an avalanche. Then it all got quiet. It got very quiet and it stopped. We all stood up and we were alive.”
Several dozens of people were killed — one from their group but most from Langtang, a nearby village.
After the avalanche, Heldman and the others went into rescue mode. Brigida, a nurse, according to her Facebook page, helped save a baby with two broken legs and a woman with severe head wounds.
“Some of what we did was just hugging people who were sobbing. Some of the people who came up from Langtang were refugees and they had just seen their babies and families die before their eyes,” said Heldman.
The group spent five days with little food and water.
On Wednesday they were flown to Katmandu, then Los Angeles before returning home to San Diego on Friday.
Heldman’s family is still collecting donation through a Go Fund Me account for those struggling.