Skiing Dutch prince buried by avalanche

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A Dutch prince is seriously ill in intensive care after being buried in an avalanche when he skied off piste in an Austrian ski resort.

Prince Friso, second son of Queen Beatrix, was being treated in an Innsbruck hospital.

There were conflicting reports on his exact condition.

A Dutch government statement said that he was stable but “his life remains at risk”. However, Stefan Jochum, a spokesman for the Lech ski area where the accident occurred, said his condition was serious but his life was no longer in danger.

Jochum said the accident happened as the prince and other skiers were on slopes away from the marked Lech ski runs and laden with snow after record falls.

“A snow slide came down and the prince was buried as the only member of the group” said Jochum.

A rescue helicopter was on the scene within minutes and after Friso was located, he was given emergency aid on the scene and flown to the hospital.

He could not confirm a news report that the prince had been buried for 15 minutes before he was found and said he had no information on his injuries.

Friso, 43, was in Lech with other members of the royal family.

The second of Beatrix’s three sons, he gave up any claim to the Dutch throne to marry Dutch woman Mabel Wisse Smit, in 2004. The pair have two daughters.