Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Almost three years ago, at february 17 2012 our Prince Friso was caught in an avalanche while skying outside the piste. He needed a long time of resuscitation before he got in a kind of stable situation of unconsciousness. One and a half year later, without ever regaining consciousness, he died.

Today a group of schoolchildren and a teacher ignored the black label (signalling the most difficult level of skying should be expected) of a piste in the French Alpes, called Les Deux Alpes.
Not only that. The piste had been closed because of lack of snow and wasn't re-opened yet, even thought a large quantity of snow had fallen during the past days. This had caused a firm avalanche risk, so the piste, The Bellacombe Piste, on a north-facing, easily iced slope of the mountain, was still closed.

In the area warnings had been issued to stay on the open pistes, and stay away from areas that were not clearly marked as open. It was also told to stay informed about changed weather conditions and be aware of increased risk.
The group of French schoolchildren and their teachers, and an not connected Ukrainian and some others ignored it all.
They were caught by the force of nature. A large avalanche struck, killing 2 schoolchildren and the Ukrainian, and leaving 2 pupils in cardiac arrest and a teacher unconscious. These 3 were seriously injured taken to a hospital.

A massive rescue operation including more than 60 rescuers, dogs and 4 helicopters resulted in the recovery of all other people.

It makes me wonder why those teachers decided to enter the closed piste.
Didn't they know what they were doing?
Didn't they know they had the responsibility for the lives of all the children and the rescuers?

Questions that will never be answered.

The traumatic event will always stay in the memory of the people involved.
When I was 13 we were preparing a fair at school.
I was not present when a large beam fell on top of one of the pupils. He died.
The impact it had on all of us was immense.

So not only do I feel deeply for the family and friends of the people who died, but also for all those others who are going home without precious friends and a teacher.


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