Family of Australian teenager killed in Austria says ski patrol triggered

The parents of a Sydney teenager killed while skiing in Austria have revealed the avalanche that engulfed their son was triggered when a ski patrol was trying to rescue the family.

Max Meyer and his parents issued a call for help after getting stuck in deep snow in a narrow valley between two main runs at St Anton resort in Tyrol last Wednesday.

They were advised by the ski patrol to stay where they were.

“At that point in time we were uninjured, and in no immediate danger,” Thomas Meyer and Julie Schatz said in a statement on Monday.

“In the process of the ski patrol trying to reach us by skiing down from above us on the opposite side of the valley, an avalanche was triggered which engulfed us and tragically led to the death of our son Max.”

Rescuers reportedly retrieved Max’s body some 20 minutes later but he could not be revived.

“It has been confirmed to us by the coroner that Max’s death was instant and painless,” his parents said in the statement.

Heavy wind stirs up snow on an Austrian mountain. EPA/CHRISTIAN BRUNA
Camera IconHeavy wind stirs up snow on an Austrian mountain. EPA/CHRISTIAN BRUNAPicture: EPA

The 16-year-old was a student at Sydney’s International Grammar School which has offered support to his family and fellow students.

His parents on Monday thanked the school community, as well as family and friends, for their messages of love and support during what’s been a “profoundly difficult time”.

“We can find no words to express how much and how deeply Max was loved by us, and by so many others,” they said.

St Anton police are investigating the incident and will prepare a final report.

“We respect and will not interfere with this process, but have in the meantime been given permission by them to issue this statement,” Thomas Meyer and Julie Schatz said.

More than two dozen people have been killed in weather-related accidents across Europe over the past few weeks.