The skier fled a pack of wolves in just his socks after ditching his heavy ski boots. Photo / iStock
skier has told how he escaped in his socks from a pack of wolves after accidentally going off-piste and crashing into a tree while on holiday.
Janveer Sandhu nearly lost both legs to frostbite after ditching his heavy ski boots to run from the predators through waist-deep snow.
The 30-year-old says he then climbed a tree to get away, where he spent a freezing night and ate snow to stay hydrated.
He was eventually picked up by a passing motorist the next day – but still faces losing a toe to frostbite.
“It was the best thing ever when I saw the car,” said Mr Sandhu, a project manager. “I just thought ‘I’m going to live’.”
The drama has echoes of Oscar-winning film The Revenant, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio as a 19th-century frontiersman who battles through the snow-swept US wilderness after being mauled by a bear.
Mr Sandhu’s own fight for survival began during a five-day break with a friend in Bansko, Bulgaria
, in early February. On the second evening, the experienced skiier went down a black run on his own.
However he became confused by the signs and ended up going off-piste into steep, dense woodland – where he crashed into a tree at high speed. “I wasn’t knocked out but I was in shock,” he said. “Blood was coming from my nose.”
He said he then saw three wolves just a few hundred feet away – and they were heading in his direction.
“I’d started going downhill after the crash but when I saw the wolves I had to go back up,” he said. “I climbed for about 45 minutes – but it was difficult. I was waist-deep in snow. I was still in my boots so got rid of them. I didn’t think about my feet. I just wanted to save my life.
“I realised every step [away from civilisation] was death, so I climbed a tree where I spent the night. I ate snow because I was thirsty.”
Locals later told him that wolves don’t like to climb up steep slopes in powdery snow – but he didn’t know this at the time. During the night he saw the rescue teams’ search lights, but says they were too far away to shout. His mobile phone also had no signal.
It wasn’t until sunrise that he dared clamber down, trekking for hours before finding a road where he was picked up by a Romanian family. Mr Sandhu, from Ilford, Essex, was then taken to hospital in Sofia, where doctors battled to save his legs. He flew home on February 13, but was admitted to Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford for a further three days.
He now has to return next week, when the tip of his right big toe and all the next toe may be amputated. However he said he is lucky to still have his feet at all.
Mr Sandhu added that he has seen The Revenant since his accident. He said: “It did remind me of a lot of the moments I had.”