TRIBUTES CONTINUE FOR AVALANCHE VICTIMS
9th November 2019
Last modified on December 26th, 2019
The two Dutch men died in Soelden in Austria on Saturday. Both were experienced instructors. A third man survived.
The first avalanche deaths of the season followed heavy snow & high winds in the area.
The two men who died have been named as Stephan Verheij, who was 39, and Roy Brink (33).
A 54-year-old man, also Dutch, was with them but survived the slide.
Friends said they had been fully equipped for going off piste.
Stephan Verheij ran a snowboarding company called White Adventure, offering freeride and split-board guiding.
He had the highest Austria instructing qualification and lived in Kaprun.
A colleague of ski instructor Roy Brink said his girlfriend is heavily pregnant.
“We are really shocked by the death of Stephan and Roy,” Stephan Zoetelief told the Dutch newspaper, De Telegraaf.
He runs a ski centre in the Dutch town of Soesterberg where both victims had worked.
Stephan Verheij taught snowboarding and Roy Brink taught skiing there.
“We still can’t contain the news. It is really terrible to hear that they were killed by an avalanche.”
He added: “They were so experienced. Stephan is a seasoned professional. These guys really knew what they were doing.
“Such an avalanche doesn’t just happen. No idea what happened. ”
Mr Zoetrelief said the ski centre held a minute’s silence to remember the men on Sunday.
The three men were riding off piste when the avalanche triggered.
The 54-year old man managed to escape but his companions were carried 200m down a steep slope.
It is likely they set off the slide themselves.
Part of the slide came over a piste in the ski area.
It happened on the upper slopes of the resort near the base of the Rettenbach glacier in the resort in the Oztal Valley in the Tirol.
The rescue authorities carried out a probe search of the area as they were unable to pick up any signals from avalanche transceivers, though one of the men managed to trigger an air bag.
The two bodies were found after more than an hour of searching and the pair was pronounced dead at the scene.
They were buried under 3m of snow.
The avalanche came after recent heavy snow accompanied by high winds.
An investigation is underway and the authorities are urging caution and for people to carry the correct safety equipment and obey all the rules.
The accident was witnessed by Gaby from Snow Camps Europe and she has been sending updated videos from the scene: