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Five-year-old British girl dies in ski accident in France

The incident happened in the Haute-Savoie ski station of Flaine while the girl was taking part in a ski lesson. She was accidentally ‘run over’ by a man in his 40s, who is now in custody

Skiers on a mountain top, in the Grand Massif ski domaine, in Flaine, France

Flaine is part of the Grand Massif ski domaine in Haute-Savoie Pic: EvoPix.evolo / Shutterstock

[Article updated on January 17 at 12:50]

A five-year-old British girl has died in a skiing accident in the French Alps, with the man involved in the incident now being held for alleged manslaughter.

The accident happened yesterday (Saturday, January 15) late morning, on a piste at the ski station of Flaine, Haute-Savoie, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. 

The five-year-old girl was taking part in an Ecole de Ski Française ski lesson on the blue piste named ‘Serpentine’, when she was ‘run over’ by a man in his 40s who appeared to have lost control of his skiing speed.

"The child was moving in single file behind the group and was preparing to turn to the right when she was very violently hit at great speed by the skier, who tried in vain to avoid her," the public prosecution service of Bonneville said.

The man, who is a voluntary firefighter and from Haute-Savoie, immediately called for first aid help, and was assisted by a doctor who was on the mountain. When emergency services arrived, the girl appeared to be in cardiac arrest.

She was not able to be revived and died at around 13:00 during a helicopter journey to hospital. 

The girl had been spending several days at the ski resort with her parents, who are British and live in Geneva, Switzerland. They have a second home in nearby Carroz.

The man who hit her accidentally has now been placed in gendarmerie custody, with the case being investigated by the Bonneville prosecutor’s office.

Prosecutor Karline Bouisset said he is in a “state of severe shock”.

A manslaughter inquiry has been opened, with an autopsy of the girl scheduled for tomorrow morning (Monday, January 17) to formally identify the cause of death. The inquiry is being led by the gendarmerie of Bonneville.

The magistrate said: “A judicial investigation will probably be opened [into the man in] police custody.”

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