the Waterfall - Switzerland

In 2004, I was in Switzerland for business.  Needless to say that business turned into a lot of pleasure, at which point this story comes into play.  It was a gorgeous day in July in Interlaken, Switzerland which is deemed by many to be the extreme sports capital of the industrialized world.  I had just gotten into the city from Geneva at which point, I decided to play with the commoners at a hostel.  I was staying at a hostel interestingly named Funny Farm.  It was called funny farm, I believe, because they laughed at you when you gave them 35 Euros a night to stay there, almost like they couldn’t believe some one would pay to stay there.

The next day happens to be what this experience is all about.  I decided to go Canyoning in the Swiss Alps which would have been an amazing experience had I not almost died.  The air was crisp, cold, and clear, the water fresh and colder than the air.  I was repelling down the face of 60 foot rock right next to a 50 foot waterfall.  The face was vertical and wet, and the bottom fifteen or so feet was inverted.  I hit the inverted part of the rock and slipped, as it was wetter than a golden retriever in the Chesapeake Bay.  I slammed into the rock with my fists and fell into the water below.  The fall wasn't bad, and my hands were bleeding, but that was the best part.  The washing machine effect began to take me into the waterfall, while I was still attached to the rope.  I tried to take the rope off of the carabineer, but struggled as I couldn’t see at this point and it was at my waist, and I was getting crushed by gallons of water. 


I tried to swim out of the suction, and got about 2 feet out, which took nearly all of my strength, as the current was ridiculously strong, and then I got sucked back in.  I tried to swim out one more time, but I was sucked back in again.  I could only see white water all around me, almost like an avalanche of sorts.  At this point I was out of energy.  I had exhausted almost all of my resources, and was ready to call it quits.  I had one last chance before I just gave up, so I tried to climb back up the rope.  Hand over hand, not once, not twice, but three times, I thought I was out.  The water crashed onto me again, and knocked me off the rope.  I was now directly under the 50 feet of water that was splashing on top of me.  At the point where the water fall and the pool of water below cross paths...this is the area that creates the washing machine.  I took a big breath and went under to try to get the rope off, but was being thrown around like a dog biscuit in the circus.  I came up and thought this was it...this is how I am going to go...not doing something I love, not with my girlfriend, not with my family...but I was going to ******* die by myself, in a waterfall.  I looked up to the sky as I stopped trying...there was nothing left in me, absolutely life didn't "flash" before my eyes, but instead I thought about the people I was about to mom, dad, and brother...the girl I was going to marry, the mother of my future children, my best friends who would do anything for me, and for whom I would move heaven and earth...that was it...

I thought about the phone call that would be made from the American embassy to my family...while starring up at the beautiful blue sky, the place that I would soon be, and wondering at what point I would be looking down on those I left, I saw a shadow...the shadow of the man that jumped into the 50 foot waterfall, cut my rope and pushed me to the side near the calm waters...his name was Dahmien...he was Swiss was unbelievable, just as I had given up, and thought I was at the end of that road, the road widened, and allowed me to pass, with minor injuries, and a significant amount of water in my stomach...I never took a breath under water, there was very little water in my lungs...

This could possibly have been the worst 40 seconds of my life.  It felt like the eternity I thought I would soon be in...

sf1100block sf1100block
22-25, M
4 Responses Oct 6, 2006

Not an NDE but a frightening experience no less. People who have NDE's DONT want to come back. ( can personally testify) If you are interested in more information, check out Dr Moody's research, torrentz or youtube.<br />
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These experiences certainly change your outlook on life, I've found. Would you care to edit your story, and include any changes that have happened to you as a direct result of your experience?

He did have a near death experience but only in terms of he "almost" died.<br />
He did not experience clinical death and what happens afterwards.<br />
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To the writer. You wrote this well. It's amazing how right when we are about to give up, some miracle happens.

Glad to hear that you're on the earthly side of life, but I wouldn't consider your accident a Near-Death-, an out of body, Experience.

That amazing. I had a similar experience with a smaller waterfall when I was a kid. There was a big rock next to a 20ft water fall that we would jump off of into the water. Well I jumped into the waterfall, and was under water. I couldn't tell which way to go and ended up swimming against the current for 45 seconds. I just couldn't get away from the waterfall. Finally, after I gave up, the current pushed me behind the waterfall where there was about two inches of air below a rock. It was just enough to let me get my bearings, catch my breath, and find a way out.