Rescuers ‘caused lethal avalanche’
Parents of Max Meyer break their silence
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.