Wednesday, 18 December 2013
A 16 year old British male from Winchester has been confirmed dead after an avalanche in the Austrian resort of Lech yesterday. The teenager was skiing with his twin brother, father, and a ski instructor.
Reports suggest that the group were skiing off-piste, with one of the twins slightly behind the others when the avalanche released. The three leading skiers were swept away down the mountain, with the instructor being carried 150m before he came to a stop on the surface. All of the group were equipped with airbags, which were deployed, but these did not prevent the father and son being buried.
After freeing himself from the debris the instructor phoned for rescue, before joining the remaining teenager to try and locate the buried victims. The 51 year old father was dug out alive, but with serious injuries, and remains in a critical condition in hospital. The buried teenager was pronounced dead on the scene.
Austrian police have stated that the group were skiing off-piste, and that an investigation has begun into whether the instructor was authorised to take clients to that area. The Avalanche Risk category was 1/5 for the region at the time.
Avalanche Academy Comment: Our thoughts are with the family of the victim after this tragic accident. Details are still emerging as to exactly what happened. 1/5 is the lowest risk category possible while there is still snow on the mountain, but it must be stressed that there is always risk when off-piste. We will try and update this article when more information is available.