A hero South Yorkshire police sergeant who survived Nepal’s biggest avalanche and helped lead others to safety has told of the harrowing conditions he battled through.
Paul Sherridan, aged 49, said he wants the story of his near-death experience in the Annapurna mountains to be used to improve safety for climbers in future.
The amateur climber was on holiday in Nepal last week, climbing in the mountain range when a blizzards and an avalanche struck, and conditions deteriorated.
Sgt Sherridan, a police officer in Doncaster, battled through the whiteout and helped lead others to safety.
He said: “As we moved, and descended, it became apparent we descended into worsening conditions. The sky was white and grey as the ground and everything was featureless.
“The wind was so ferocious that I could hardly hear.”
Sgt Sherridan then found a guide and used his altimeter and navigation poles on the mountain to lead people back down to safety – not realising until later he was leading as many as 100 people back down.
The father said he wants others to learn from his experience.
He added: “I could easily have died, but I wasn’t ready to die.
“That day is the closest I’ve come to death. I want to make sure the lessons I’ve learnt can go out to other people as a warning.
“People might not be aware that they are in an environment that could kill them and has killed people.”
Sgt Sherridan has vowed to return to Nepal despite the tragedy, adding: “It was the trek of a lifetime for me, and it was the trek of a lifetime for a lot of people, but it’s ended up being a tragedy, a tragedy that needn’t have happened.
“I will go back, I’m going to make a point of going back.
“I never wanted to be the hero. I wanted to go on holiday, I wanted to come home, I wanted to get back to work and look forward to my next experience.
“I’m just pleased to be home.”