UK & World News

  • 19 December 2013, 0:43

British Boy Dies In Ski Holiday Avalanche

A British teenager has been killed and his father seriously injured in an avalanche in Austria.

The 16-year-old boy - who was skiing with his father, twin brother and a guide - was buried under an avalanche at the exclusive resort of Lech am Arlberg on Tuesday.

His brother escaped but his 51-year-old father was buried alongside him and remains in hospital.

The father and son, from Winchester in Hampshire, successfully activated their emergency anti-avalanche airbags - designed to stop people being buried - but it failed to save the 16-year-old's life.

Austrian police said the guide who is said to be very experienced, will face a criminal investigation.

"The father and his boy were buried," said a police spokesman. "The ski guide was able to get away from the avalanche and immediately after he called rescue teams.

"He then started trying to free the two who were buried. The rescue team finally rescued the father and got the boy out some time later."

The spokesman added: "The instructor will face a criminal investigation. It will be investigated if he could have or should have avoided the accident.

"He was a guide, so there should have been no problem. The whole group was properly equipped with avalanche equipment."

An avalanche warning of one, on a scale of one to four, was in place on the day of the accident.

Pia Herbst, from the Lech am Arlberg Tourism Board, defended the 39-year-old ski guide.

She said: "He is a very good guide and he has a lot of experience. He has the highest level of education you can have in skiing and he didn't do anything wrong.

"It was a normal day to go for a tour, and unfortunately it was an accident with avalanche risk 'one', which is not high at all. Still something can happen. It was a very, very sad accident."

The Foreign Office confirmed the death and is providing consular assistance to the family.

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