Dutch Prince in critical condition after Austrian avalanche

The Hague (ANTARA News/Xinhua-OANA) - Dutch Prince Johan Friso was in critical but stable condition after being buried by an avalanche in Lech, western Austria on Friday, the Dutch government information service RVD confirmed.

According to a statement by the RVD, the doctors cannot give a diagnosis on his situation now, but probably can do so in the forthcoming days.

"His health situation is stable, but not without mortal danger," the RVD said.

The accident happened in Litzen-Zugertobel, near the town of Lech, where the prince was skiing outside the regular piste. He was buried under an avalanche shortly after noon, while his fellow skiers were unharmed.

Freed by a rescue team after 15 minutes, the 43-year-old prince was resuscitated at the scene and then transported by helicopter to a hospital in Innsbruck, according to media reports.

He is now at an intensive care unit, said reports.

Recently, it has snowed heavily in the Austrian Alps with an increased danger of avalanches. An avalanche warning four was issued in this particular area, one below the maximum warning five.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte responded to the incident in The Hague.

"I just spoke to Queen Beatrix and I told her the whole country wanted to show its sympathy. The best doctors of Austria are treating him, so let`s hope for the best," he said.

The mayor of Lech Ludwig Muxel told Austrian national TV channel ORF that Friso might have caused the avalanche himself. Other unconfirmed Austrian reports claimed the prince is suffering from a skull fracture.

Johan Friso is the second son of Queen Beatrix and the late Prince Claus and the younger brother of Willem-Alexander, heir to the throne. Since his marriage in 2004 to Mabel Wisse Smit, for which he did not ask permission of the parliament, he is no longer a candidate to take over the throne. He has two daughters.

The Dutch royal family owns a holiday house in Lech and goes there regularly for skiing holidays. At the moment, Queen Beatrix is in Lech as well. Together with Friso`s wife Mabel, she is now in the hospital in Innsbruck. (*)

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