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'Devastation' of ski boy's family

Published 13/04/2015

Carwyn Scott-Howell, from Wales, who died when he fell from a cliff edge after losing his way in the Alpine resort of Flaine on Friday.
Carwyn Scott-Howell, from Wales, who died when he fell from a cliff edge after losing his way in the Alpine resort of Flaine on Friday.

The family of a seven-year-old boy who fell to his death on a skiing holiday in the French Alps have spoken of their "utter devastation".

Carwyn Scott-Howell died after falling from a cliff edge in the resort of Flaine on Friday.

The youngster's family paid tribute to him.

"Carwyn was an adorable, caring person who gave so much love," they said in a statement.

"(He was a) very daring, outgoing, determined little boy whose handsome smile lit up any room and made life full of laughter with never a dull moment.

"Seven years is too short a time to be an angel in the sky.

"The family cannot explain their feeling of utter devastation with a vast void in their hearts."

They described Carwyn as a "very competent" skier and snowboarder who had been practising winter sports since the age of three and spent several weeks on the snow each year.

They told how "the most happy ski holiday" turned to tragedy after Carwyn became detached from the group on the last run of the day.

"The family were all enjoying their last ski run over the small jumps and bumps at the side of the slope together, when Carwyn's sister lost her ski on a jump and at this point Carwyn skied ahead," the statement said.

Local newspaper Le Dauphine Libere said Carwyn appeared to have travelled off piste before falling at least 160ft (49m) from a rocky outcrop.

His body was later spotted by a helicopter during a mountain rescue search.

Police chief Patrick Poirot, head of the mountain rescue division in the nearby town of Annecy, said: ''We think that, after losing his parents, the little boy didn't know where to go and skied in the wrong direction.

''He left the marked ski slope and probably skied to the top of a cliff. He then stopped, removed his skis, walked a little way and then fell."

The family have a farm in the small village of Talybont-on-Usk in the Brecon Beacons, where Carwyn's parents Ceri and Rhys run an award-winning produce business and rent holiday cottages.

Liam Fitzpatrick, an independent county councillor for the village, said the community was "in absolute shock".

"He was seven years old, it's horrendous. A tragic, tragic accident," he said.

"We just can't comprehend it.

"It's a small village and everyone knows each other, especially his parents who are well-known because of their business.

"There will be massive support here for them when they come back. The community will be ready to assist in any way it possible can.

"It's impossible to know what they are going through at the moment."

Children and teachers at the school Carwyn attended faced a difficult first day back after the Easter break.

Officials at Ysgol Y Bannau in Brecon said tribute was paid to Carwyn at a special assembly.

Headteacher Emyr Jones said; "The school mourns the loss of one of its pupils, Carwyn Scott-Howell - a lively and likeable pupil who will be greatly missed.

"We at Ysgol y Bannau, as an extended community, the staff, pupils, parents and governors, extend our deepest sympathy to the family; our thoughts and prayers are with them."

A book of condolence has also been opened at Brecon Cathedral, where a picture of of Carwyn in a karate suit was placed next to candles lit in his memory.

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