British teen killed by avalanche while skiing with twin in Austria

A British teenager has been killed in an avalanche in front of his twin brother while skiing in Austria.

The 16-year-old was buried in snow along with his father and a ski guide in the resort of Lech Am Arlberg.

The 39-year-old ski guide was swept along by the snow for 150 metres before pulling himself free and calling emergency services. He helped the surviving teen look for his relatives while waiting for rescue teams to arrive.

The father of the twins, a 51-year-old Briton from Winchester, was pulled out alive but badly injured and flown to hospital. The 16-year-old died at the scene.

According to the Daily Telegraph, local police said the route the group had been taking when they were hit was not an authorised one.

A police spokesman told the Evening Standard: "The route they were on was according to our information not authorised. It was not allowed to go there, and the ski instructor that was responsible for the group and had an obligation not to take risks is under investigation."

At the time of the accident the region had issued only a category 1 avalanche warning, meaning there was a very low risk of an avalanche.

According to the Daily Telegraph and the Standard, Andreas Pecl from the Avalanche Warning Service in Vorarlberg said: "The only lower category is 0 and we only have that in the summer. Even with a category 1 alert, people need to be aware that there are areas where it is nevertheless extremely dangerous. In addition it shows that even for people that are properly equipped, when there is an avalanche, there are no guarantees. Both of the injured had the avalanche air bags but it did not prevent this tragedy."

A Foreign Office spokesman told ITV News: "We can confirm the death of a British national and the hospitalisation of a British national on 17 December in Austria. We are providing consular assistance to the family at this difficult time."

Lech am Arlberg has long been a favourite with the Dutch royal family.

It was also where 43-year-old Dutch prince Johan Friso, second son of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, was killed by an avalanche after skiing off-piste with a guide.

He was buried for 20 minutes under the snow and spent 18 months in a coma before he died.

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