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Accidental death verdict on Colerne ski girl
2:48pm Tuesday 15th October 2013 in Corsham
A ten-year-old girl died from Colerne after suddenly losing control on a ski slope and crashing head first into a tree at high-speed on a holiday in the Alps, an inquest heard.
Experienced skier Jemima Prees was on the slopes in the Austrian Tyrol at the Mayrhofen resort with her father, Tim, and older brother Barney, 19, when at the end of the day they descended as a group.
During the three-hour ski day the family had been down red and black runs and the schoolgirl was wearing a helmet.
Mr Prees told today's hearing in Salisbury through a statement that it had become icy on the slope as the family went down at about 4pm on February 11 this year.
He said: "Jemima suddenly skied straight past me. I yelled 'turn in, turn in' but she went straight ahead and did not react. She went straight down to the edge of the piste."
"At that point the piste took a left hand turn towards the edge of the run and I lost sight of her because of the left hand bend.
"Barney and I went after her as quickly as possible and looked for her.
"After a few seconds we came to the edge of the slope. She was lying at the foot of a tree, her face was purple, she was unconscious."
Barney said in his statement that his sister "suddenly lost control of her skis".
Jemima, who had been skiing since she was four, was airlifted to a hospital in Innsbruck but died later, the hearing was told.
In the hearing Mr Prees added that his son carried out mouth- to-mouth resuscitation and heart massage for 40 minutes while they waited for the emergency services.
"As a result of that four children in Europe benefited from Jemima's organs. The doctors said his work was textbook. He should be very, very proud of what he did," Mr Prees explained.
A post-mortem examination found the youngster died from a traumatic brain injury and a spinal rupture.
Recording a verdict of accidental death, Wiltshire and Swindon assistant coroner Claire Balysz said it was difficult to know exactly what happened but that it appeared that Jemima hit an icy patch, lost control and hit her head on a tree.
Mr Prees, a Devizes solicitor, and Jemima's mother Karen attended the short hearing.
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