Res­cuers ‘caused lethal avalanche’

Par­ents of Max Meyer break their si­lence

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - News - DANIELLE GUSMAROLI

THE shat­tered par­ents of a Syd­ney teenager killed while ski­ing in Aus­tria have bro­ken their si­lence to claim the avalanche that en­gulfed their son was trig­gered by a ski pa­trol at­tempt­ing to res­cue them.

Max Meyer and his par­ents made a call for help after get­ting stuck in me­tres of deep snow in a nar­row val­ley known as Steiss­bach, wedged be­tween two main runs at St An­ton re­sort last week.

They were ad­vised by the ski pa­trol to stay put un­til they ar­rived. A joint state­ment yes­ter­day is­sued by Max’s par­ents Thomas Meyer and Julie Schatz told of the 16-year-old’s har­row­ing last mo­ments say­ing: “At that point in time we were un­in­jured, and in no im­me­di­ate dan­ger. “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,” they added. Res­cuers re­port­edly bat­tled for more than 20 min­utes to lo­cate and re­sus­ci­tate Max’s body but he could not be re­vived.

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

“While this is ob­vi­ously a pro­foundly-dif­fi­cult time for us, the sup­port from our fam­ily and friends and from the In­ter­na­tional Gram­mar School com­mu­nity has meant a great deal. We are in­cred­i­bly grate­ful for the mes­sages of love and sup­port we have re­ceived fol­low­ing the tragic death of our beloved son Max.

“We are also grate­ful for the sup­port we have re­ceived from the Aus­trian au­thor­i­ties.

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

St An­ton po­lice are in­ves­ti­gat­ing the in­ci­dent and will pre­pare a fi­nal re­port into the death of the teen.

It is be­lieved he told res­cuers “we need some help’’ in a phone call just min­utes be­fore he was swept away.

“He (Max) said ‘we skied into the val­ley and we can’t get up or down and we need some help’,’’ Moun­tain Po­lice Of­fi­cer Patrick Wech­ner said.

His par­ents and 14-year-old brother, who were trapped with him in the val­ley, watched as he was buried.

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