02-17-2012, 09:00 PM
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Dutch Prince Johan Friso Buried in Austria Avalanche
Dutch Prince Johan Friso has been seriously injured in an avalanche while on a skiing holiday in the Austrian resort of Lech.
Officials said the prince, 43, was buried under the snow for about 15 minutes before being rescued.
He was resuscitated at the scene and taken to hospital in Innsbruck - the Dutch government said he was stable but "not out of danger".
Prince Friso is the second son of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.
Several members of the royal family were on holiday together in the Alpine resort.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte confirmed that the queen was there but had not been involved in the incident.
The prince was skiing with between one and three other people off the marked pistes when the avalanche hit shortly after midday local time, said resort officials. No-one else was injured.
He was wearing an avalanche beeper which allowed rescuers to locate him quickly, said Pia Herbst, spokeswoman for the Lech area tourism board.
The Austria Press Agency quoted Lech's mayor, Ludwig Muxel, as saying the prince had been buried by an avalanche measuring about 30m wide by 40m long.
The Dutch government said the prince's condition was stable but that he was "not out of danger". An earlier statement said he was in intensive care and that his life was "at risk".
The statement said Queen Beatrix and Princess Mabel, his wife, were with him but that it would be several days before a full prognosis could be given.
In remarks to local media, Mr Rutte said he had told the queen and the prince's wife that "the whole Dutch people sympathises with them very intensely".
The Austrian Alps have been hit by particularly heavy snow this winter and numerous avalanches. Parts of Voralberg were cut off by the snow this week and an avalanche warning was in place around Lech.
Members of the Dutch royal family regularly spend their winter holidays skiing in the region.
Prince Friso gave up his rights to the Dutch throne in 2004, when he married human rights activist Mabel Wisse Smit.
The government had refused to give its support to the marriage, because the couple had given misleading information about the bride's relationship with a dead gangster.
Under Dutch law, royals who aspire to the throne must receive permission from the government and parliament to marry as the cabinet will bear responsibility for their actions
The couple have two young daughters, Luana and Zaria.