Friday, 17 February 2012

Dutch Prince Johan Friso 'critical' after Austria avalanche

16:42 |


Dutch Prince Johan Friso is in a critical condition in hospital after being hit by an avalanche in the Austrian resort of Lech, say officials. Officials said the prince, 43, was buried under the snow for about 15 minutes before being rescued. He was resuscitated at the scene and taken to hospital in Innsbruck, where officials said he was stable but his condition was "still life-threatening". Prince Friso is the second son of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. Several members of the royal family had been on holiday together in Lech, in the western province of Vorarlberg in the Austrian Alps. Prime Minister Mark Rutte confirmed that the queen was there but had not been involved in the incident. Deadly season The Austrian Press Agency reported that the prince had been skiing with a small group when the avalanche hit shortly after midday local time, but that no-one else had been injured. "After the emergency call, rescue crews were on the scene with rescue helicopters. He could be located immediately and freed," a police official told Reuters news agency. The Dutch government said in a statement that the prince was in intensive care, saying that "doctors treating him describe the prince's condition as stable, but his life remains at risk". The Austrian Alps have been hit by particularly heavy snow this winter and numerous avalanches. Parts of Voralberg were cut off by the snow this week. Several people have been killed across Europe this year in avalanches. Prince Friso gave up his rights to the Dutch throne in 2004, when he married human rights activist Mabel Wisse Smit. The government had refused to give its support to the marriage, because the couple had given misleading information about the bride's relationship with a dead gangster. Under Dutch law, royals who aspire to the throne must receive permission from the government and parliament to marry as the cabinet will bear responsibility for their actions The couple have two young daughters, Luana and Zaria.

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