news

The tragic cause of the avalanche that killed the 16-year-old Australian teen in Austria.

At a time when most parents are preparing their children for the school year ahead, the parents of 16-year-old Max Meyer are grieving their son’s tragic death. A death which occurred while skiing on a fun-filled family holiday-turned-nightmare.

In a devastating turn of events, the family, including Max’s little brother, were skiing together in St. Anton am Arlberg, Austria, last Wednesday when an avalanche crushed their eldest son.

His mother managed to wriggle to freedom while Max was buried completely – killed instantly under two metres of snow.

When rescuers arrived, it took them about 20 minutes to retrieve him. Sadly, he could not be revived.

In a statement released today, Max’s parents Thomas Meyer and Julie Schatz relived the moment they realised they had lost their son, explaining that the four of them had became stuck while skiing in a narrow valley between two main runs.

“Due to the depth of the snow, we considered it safer not to try to walk out, but to contact the ski patrol for advice and so that they would know our location,” the statement said, as reported by ABC News.

Concerned for their safety, the ski patrol officers advised them to stay where they were and await rescue.

“At that point in time, we were uninjured, and in no immediate danger,” the parents added.

But, as the family huddled together, patiently awaiting their freedom from the thick snow, an avalanche was triggered – believed to be by the rescue efforts.

“In the process of the ski patrol trying to reach us by skiing down from above us on the opposite side of the valley, an avalanche was triggered which engulfed us and tragically led to the death of our son Max.”

The couple expressed gratitude for the support of Austrian authorities and the “best efforts” of rescuers to resuscitate Max. The coroner’s report confirmed, however, that their son’s death had been “instant and painless”.

Max’s unequivocally tragic death has shaken his family, friends and school community.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We can find no words to express how much and how deeply Max was loved by us, and by so many others,” they said.

“Whilst this is obviously a profoundly difficult time for us, the support from our family and friends and from the International Grammar School community has meant a great deal.”

The details surrounding Max’s death are still under examination by mountain rescue authorities, as ABC News reports.

“The incident is still being investigated by the authorities, so we need to be patient – at the moment we really can’t say anything,” St Anton mountain rescue manager, Kurt Huettl said.

Last week, a policeman from St Anton’s Mountain told the news outlet Max’s desperate rescue effort had involved 45 people and a rescue dog.

Patrick Wechner from St Anton’s Mountain Police told the ABC: “Conditions had been “difficult…[on] the one hand because there was a risk of avalanches, on the other hand because of the terrain”.

“Above the accident site there were still masses of snow and there was a danger that something further could happen.”

Mr Wechner said avalanches were “completely normal” for the time of year.

Meanwhile, another avalanche in the Austrian Alps has claimed the lives of at least three people.

Police say the bodies of three German skiers were recovered on Saturday night near Lech, a few hours after the wife of one of the skiers reported them missing. The men were aged 57, 36 and 32.

Police in Vorarlberg, Austria’s western-most province, said on Sunday they had to call off the search for another German, aged 28, because of heavy snow and the risk of avalanches.

The avalanche deaths bring to at least 24 the number of weather-related fatalities reported in parts of Europe this month.

FROM OUR NETWORK
00:00 / ???