Skier dies in Scottish avalanche

2nd April 2013, by Abi Butcher

Daniel Maddox was skiing off-piste in the Etive Glades area behind Glencoe

Daniel Maddox was skiing off-piste in the Etive Glades area behind Glencoe

An “extremely experienced” skier has died in Scotland after being caught in an avalanche while skiing off-piste behind Glencoe Ski Centre at the weekend.

A rescue party involving 50 people and an RAF helicopter was mounted after 41-year-old Daniel Maddox, from Clackmannanshire, was buried by ice and snow while skiing with a friend in the Etive Glades area on Saturday afternoon.

His body was found 24 hours later in a gully by the Glencoe and Lochaber mountain rescue teams, who had to dig through ice, snow and stones at some points 40ft deep. Rescue team leader John Grieve said the teams were lucky to have found him.

“We dug trenches that were about four metres deep. It took over an hour of digging to recover the body. It was very hard, like concrete, a mixture of stones, rocks and ice which had been swept down with the avalanche,” he said.

“Two other skiers, who had actually been caught up in another avalanche in the same place a couple of years ago and survived, also came to help with the search.”

The avalanche travelled around 1,000ft down the rocky slope and in some places left areas of snow 40ft deep. The avalanche risk on Saturday was three – considerable – after weeks of heavy snowfall in Scotland.

Mr Maddox is the 14th person to die in the Scottish mountains this year, and the eighth victim of an avalanche. The friend he was skiing with was unhurt.

In Austria on Sunday, a 30-year-old ski instructor survived being buried by an avalanche in Obertauern for 4.5 hours. He was swept away at around 1pm on Easter day, but survived because the avalanche air bag he was wearing created an air pocked and allowed him to breathe.

The rescue team of 40 people located the ski instructor through the signal on his mobile phone and were able to dig him out alive.

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