Tuesday, 29. July 2014
19. 02. 12. - 14:00
The Austrian man who was the sole companion of Dutch Prince Johan Friso when they were both buried by an avalanche was able to free himself because he was wearing an avalanche airbag.
Local hotel owner Florian Moosbrugger who has been a friend to the 43-year-old prince since they were children confirmed that he had been with the Prince when they decided to ski down the mountain.
When the avalanche struck the pair Moosbrugger said he had been able to survive because he was wearing the cumbersome avalanche airbag which the Prince was not.
He been able to free himself from the snow and then had found the Prince who was buried 40 centimetres under the snow. He said he had had to dig him out with his bare hands and it had taken 20 minutes to reach his friend and pull him to the surface.
Moosbrugger who is the boss of the Hotel Post in Lech said that they had set off around 12 clock on the day of the accident when the roughly 30 metre wide and 50 metre long snow field had suddenly dislodged and hit them.
As an experienced mountain rescuer whose father died while climbing in the Himalayas he had been able to free himself because he's also been wearing airbag.
However he refused to give more details because of the friendship that existed with his friend the Prince over the past 42 years. The only other thing he did say was to praise the rescuers for their professionalism in reanimating the Prince.
The airbag he was wearing is known to be the only thing that can actively help if hit by an avalanche. It's only disadvantage is that it has to be activated by the person wearing it – and it works on the principle of making the person a larger part of the moving mass and therefore remaining on the surface. Avalanche expert Rudi Mair said: "Ending up totally covered after an avalanche if you're wearing an airbag is almost impossible. In addition the bright orange colour means that the victim is easy to find.
"The only disadvantage is that it's heavy – which is possibly the reason why the Prince had not been carrying one and has instead decided to travel with just an avalanche rescue sender."
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