Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 27 November 2014

Ski death girl 'was very special'

Jemima Prees, 10, died after hitting a tree at high speed while skiing in the Austrian Alps on a half term holiday with her family (Wiltshire Police/PA)
Jemima Prees, 10, died after hitting a tree at high speed while skiing in the Austrian Alps on a half term holiday with her family (Wiltshire Police/PA)

A popular 10-year-old who died in a skiing accident has been described as a "very special girl".

Jemima Prees died after hitting a tree at high speed while skiing in the Austrian Alps on a half term holiday with her family.

The schoolgirl, who was wearing a helmet, appeared to lose control and skied into the wooded off-piste area at the Mayrhofen resort near Tyrol on Sunday, an Austrian police spokesman said.

Her brother and father rushed to her side to give first aid before she was airlifted to hospital in Innsbruck, but she died the following day.

Her family, from Colerne near Chippenham, Wiltshire, said she was skiing within her ability and was "taking it very carefully" before the accident.

In a statement they said: "Jemima was a very, very special girl. She lived every day as if there might be no tomorrow. She had a capacity to touch people with love in a way that is rarely seen. It was a privilege to know her for nearly 11 years."

Her parents added that Jemima died in a "beautiful place" doing something she loved, with some of her favourite people. "She was skiing within her ability and taking it very carefully, within yards of us," they said.

"No one will know why she suddenly went straight down the piste or why she didn't turn or fall. After a hundred yards, she hit trees at a high speed. She died instantly at the scene from a major brain injury but her brother's heroic 40 minutes of resuscitation enabled her organs to be donated to save or transform four people's lives. We are very proud of him, as we were proud of her. We would now like to be given the space to grieve as a family, and to attempt to begin rebuilding our lives."

Police in Mayrhofen - an hour away from Innsbruck and popular with British skiers - said the family was on the last run of the day when Jemima careered into woodland and was knocked unconscious.

Her father Tim and her brother Barnaby, a university student, both witnessed the accident which happened at about 4.30pm. Jemima, who went to Calder House School, near Colerne, also has two sisters, Annabel and Olivia, who were not on the family holiday.

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