Grandfather 'lucky to be alive' after near miss with Snowdonia landslide
A grandfather from north Wales says he is "lucky to be alive" after a near miss with a landslide in Snowdonia.
Vernon Thomas, a taxi driver, was driving along the A498 during the bad weather on Friday (September 30).
The 54-year-old said he is certain that he would have died if he hadn't acted instantly after seeing a "car-sized" rock slide towards his car from his right.
Vernon slammed on the brakes and put the car into reverse. Seconds later, he said earth and sludge followed the rock across the carriageway "like gravy".
Mr Thomas explained: "As I was coming up from Beddgelert and driving towards Pengwryd, I saw this rock moving on my right. I was only doing 27mph. I thought nothing of it for a bit."Next thing I was looking through my side window and this big rock was beside me. It was the size of a car."I don't know how I managed to do it but I quickly slammed my car into reverse for 20 or 25 yards. Thank God nobody was behind me. Next thing the whole lot came down (the slope) like gravy. It was as if that rock had been holding up all the earth till then.
"It happened so fast, it was unbelievable. I'm lucky to be alive."I took a couple of pictures then I went away from there so fast."
Mr Thomas believes the landslide obliterated the road at the exact spot where he had been moments earlier.
He continued: "Exactly where the landslide is - that's where my car was. I would have been crushed under 400 or 500 tonnes of earth. I would have been dead."
Mr Thomas said he acted instinctively. He said: "Common sense kicks in. You don't want to be dead under that lot, do you?"
'How have I got out of that alive?'
Mr Thomas worked for Gwynedd County Council for almost 30 years and had even gritted that road in the past.
He said: "I've seen landslides before but I've never experienced one like that in my life. And I don't want to experience it ever again."
The grandfather, who celebrates his 55th birthday next week, said he just sat in his car for ten minutes. He added: "I thought 'How have I got out of that alive?'"North Wales Police advised drivers to avoid the area while the road was closed.