After experiencing the devastation caused in a remote village in Nepal, a Lindfield couple are determined to raise money to help those affected.
Row and Tom Smith were celebrating after completing a 5,000 metre climb on their holiday in Langtang, Nepal.
But the earthquake hit ten minutes into their descent and they were thrown to the ground – before being hit by the force of the avalanche ‘bouncing’ back up the mountain.
“We were like rag dolls. We were covered in snow,” said Row.
“We had to quickly descend the mountain without stopping to rest to get down to the village to see the devastation.
“There were so many injured people and the village where we were staying had gone.
“The next three days were a huge challenge for us having to camp outside in freezing conditions dealing with injuries, dead bodies and the uncontrollable grief of everyone we had met along the way.
“To survive, people had to salvage for food, water and blankets among the dead.
With no way of contact, Row and Tom were forced to scramble across ice fields hoping a helicopter would rescue them, relying on their guides who lost family in the earthquake.
Row said: “People were starting to fall ill due to dehydration and lack of food including myself who had to be put on a drip. We were lucky to have been wearing clothes for climbing. It was so cold.
“It was like a war zone.
“Tom found our sleeping bags in the ruins of our guest house. We found some biscuits and some Fanta, but we didn’t know how long we would be there.
“It was truly the most terrifying experience of our lives. Tom and I were two of the lucky ones that got helicopter lifted out leaving 150 people to survive on the mountain with no aid.
“The helicopter rescue was from a private Scottish pilot and not the army.
“He dropped us off in a field.
“We had no idea where we were. We still don’t know.
Following a bus journey back to Kathmandu the couple made contact with the embassy to tell them about the devastation in the village, before catching a flight home.
Latest news reports show only one building still standing in the village with the rest buried in ice and rubble.
Row said: “The poor people of Nepal are fighting for survival with no aid and desperately need our help.
“Without the locals and our Sherpa we would have honestly not survived.
“We are devastated as most of the tourists and locals we had met along the journey have died.
“It is so hard to get our heads around that we survived and walked away with just a few bruises. We are still in shock.
“Tom and I are determined to raise some money for the Langtang region and hope to be able to help them rebuild their lives.
“We very much hope that everyone will be able to provide support too.”
The couple are appealing for anyone who can join their fundraising effort.
They are raising money for Community Action Nepal, which is working to help remote villages in Nepal.
Visit Tom and Row’s Just Giving Page at www.justgiving.com/Row-Smith