Friday, 17 February 2012
(Updated 19Feb). Dutch Prince Johan Friso (shown opposite at this wedding) was buried last Friday in an avalanche in the Austrian resort of Lech. He is now in hospital in a critical condition after being rescued, say officials. The Prince is the second son of Queen Beatrix.
The accident happened just after midday, and the 43 year old Prince was apparently under the snow for about 20 minutes before being dug out by rescuers. He was allegedly skiing with an Austrian friend when the accident occurred. The friend alerted the rescue services who arrived promptly by helicopter. They were able to locate the Prince because he was wearing an avalanche transceiver. Unfortunately, the long time spent under the snow meant that he suffered oxygen deprivation and may be brain-damaged as a result.
Austria, like many areas of the European Alps, has had record amounts of snow this season. However, a recent cold spell has come to an end and temperatures have increased significantly. This increase in temperature has also increased the avalanche risk in the area, and the Avalanche Category was graded 4/5 on the day of the accident. Several members of the Dutch Royal family were on holiday together in Lech.
All at Avalanche Academy wish Prince Johan a speedy recovery.