On Monday, a London man died on a skiing holiday in Austria when he crashed into a metal snow cannon which had no protective padding. Experienced skier Aleksander Owens-Thurston, 23, lost control on an advanced black run and smashed into the arm of the machine.
He was not wearing a helmet but his father Phillip, 49, believes the headgear would not have saved him because of the force of the blow to his head. The family is questioning why there was no padding around the snow cannon.
An Austrian police spokesman described the accident as occurring when Aleksander lost control and ended up sliding down the slope before shooting into the air at the side of the ski run. He went through the air and hit his head against the arm of an artificial snow cannon at full speed.
A group of three skiers behind him included a doctor who was able to give emergency CPR to the young man and called for an emergency helicopter. But the emergency doctor could only certify that the young man was dead.
Sadly, this tragedy follows the anniversary of a very similar accident which occurred in the popular French Alps resort of La Plagne, near Val d’Isere. Another young British skier died when he smashed into a snow cannon. The 22-year-old lost control while trying to execute a turn and ploughed into the snow-making machine at high speed.