UK & World News
Ski Death: Tributes Paid To UK Schoolgirl
Tributes have been paid to a girl who died after falling from a ski lift during a school trip to the Italian Alps.
The 13 year-old girl, named in reports as Poonam Bhattal from Slough, in Berkshire, was "a beautiful girl" who will be "dearly missed", friends said on Twitter.
One user, @jaskiretxo, said: "Poonam Bhattal a beautiful girl who we were all so lucky to have known, may our thoughts be with Amreeta and her family. RIP beautiful xox".
Another, @TharanVirdi said: "Poonam, You will be dearly missed, thoughts and prayers go out to your family. Waheguru #gonetoosoon #RipPoonam x".
Italian police in the resort of Claviere have spoken to her classmates who said the teenager's skis had crossed with the person sitting next to her, causing her to slip.
The friends said they had ''tried to hold onto her'' but she slipped off. Investigators say she started to slip while about six feet from the ground but eventually fell further up just as the lift operator stopped it after hearing screams.
The schoolgirl was having ski lessons with classmates from the Guru Nanak Sikh Academy in Hayes, Middlesex, when she got on the chairlift around 9.30am.
Although Poonam initially survived the fall, she died while on her way to a hospital 25 miles away in Susa.
Local police commissioner Francesco Destro told Sky News: "The ski lift was moving very fast and rising fast when she fell." He said he could not recall a similar accident.
Mr Destro added that the girl initially answered questions when officers rushed to her aid but "did not make it".
The school's principal, Rajinder Singh Sandhu, broke the news of the teenager's death to her family.
In a statement, he said the half-term excursion was led by the deputy head of the school with the help of two assistant head teachers and "a massively experienced team of eight staff".
"The leader of this trip and everyone associated with it is devastated by the death of an absolutely lovely student."
Skibound, the company which organised the trip, confirmed the report, saying in a statement: "The thoughts and condolences of all at Skibound are with the family, school and friends. All our efforts are focused on ensuring they are supported in any way possible through this very difficult time."