Teenage girl dies on school ski trip

23rd February 2013, by Abi Butcher

Ski resort Claviere is near the French border

Ski resort Claviere is near the French border

A British schoolgirl has died after falling from a chairlift in Claviere, Italy yesterday (Friday) morning.

An investigation is underway after Poonam Bhattal, 13, fell 20ft from the Col Beouf chairlift, and is reported to have hit her head on a cement pylon. Local media say there was a problem with the safety bar.

Poonam was on a school ski trip with 30 other pupils from the Guru Nanak Sikh Academy from Hayes, Middlesex. The group was accompanied by 11 members of staff, including the school’s vice principal who has led 28 activity trips.

The school said in a statement: “The leader of this trip and everyone associated with it is devastated by the death of an absolutely lovely student. Our thoughts are with the family and all others in the community affected by this tragedy.”

Poonam was airlifted to hospital in nearby Susa after the fall, but died later yesterday afternoon.

A spokesman for Turin police said: “We don’t know yet if she didn’t get on properly or if she fell because the barrier was down. She was taken to hospital but died on the way.”

The trip was organised by Skibound, which has organised trips to France, Italy and North America for 28 years.

School ski trips are the biggest declining market in the UK, according to a 2012 ski industry report by tour operator Crystal, with 117,700 taking trips in 2012, down from 122,700 in 2011. The fall has been mainly attributed to the economy, rather than health and safety fears.

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