independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Alps accident snowboarder dies

Emily Watts died after spending several days on a life support machine

A British student who suffered a horrific snowboarding accident in the French Alps has died, her family has said.

Emily Watts, known as Mimi, fell headfirst into a snowdrift and was stuck for about 45 minutes following the incident in Chamonix on Saturday.

By the time emergency crews arrived, the 26-year-old, from Lavenham in Suffolk, had suffered a cardiac arrest, prompting fears of brain damage.

Her parents, Nicky McAllister and Dominic Watts, along with her 27-year-old brother Rory, flew to France to be by her bedside.

But after a number of days on a life support machine, she died, Miss Watts' aunt Shona Pollock said.

In a statement issued before Miss Watts' death, her family said the outlook was "very bleak" but the support they had received from friends and family had been "heart-warming".

They met with rescuers this week to establish a better picture of what had happened and discovered a British man had raised the alarm.

"So far, we have spoken to the police, who have explained exactly what happened," the statement said.

"She was at the edge of the piste where the snow was compacted and safe, but caught an edge and was catapulted into a 70cm pile of powder. From the middle of the piste it was impossible to see her unless you were within two metres of the accident site.

"Luckily a British man saw a mark in the snow as he skied past, stopped and ran back up the slope to check it out. We're extremely grateful for that man's efforts - when he discovered somebody was stuck he called for help."

Press Association

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