An inquest has heard how a 25-year-old British man watched helplessly as his mother, an experienced snowboarder, suffered a fatal head injury after falling on the slopes on February 6, 2012.
The Telegraph reports that Christopher Thompson, from Chandler's Ford, Hants, had stopped to wait for his mother, Sandra Thompson, 59, as they were snowboarding down a blue run in Kitzbuhel, Austria.
Mr Thompson, who is a ski instructor, was standing 30 metres away when he saw his mother catch her heel edge in the hard-packed snow and topple backwards at a very low speed.
When he raced up the slope to reach his mother, he found that she was lying unconscious.
The Daily Echo reports that Mrs Thompson had been on holiday with her husband, David Thompson, and their two sons James and Christopher, and their girlfriends.
Christopher Thompson told the court: "It was pretty obvious that she wasn't getting up within one or two seconds. I quickly unstrapped my snowboard and ran over to my mother. Immediately I could see she was having trouble breathing."
Mrs Thompson was taken to hospital by air ambulance, but two days later scans showed that she was brain dead. A postmortem revealed that she had suffered swelling and and a blood clot on the brain, known as a subdural haematoma, as a result of the fall.
Recording a verdict of accidental death, Deputy Coroner for Central Hampshire, Simon Burge, told the inquest: "If ever there was a case which justifies the use of the word 'tragedy', this is one of those cases.
"Chris could not have done more than he did. He managed to keep his presence of mind and behave appropriately to a situation unravelling in front of him."
Mrs Thompson's husband told the Telegraph: "We're struggling to understand how it happened because it was an innocuous little fall, which makes it so hard to comprehend."
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