Story By: Feza Uzay, Sub-Editor: Marija Stojkoska, Agency: Newsflash
A Canadian UN worker has been killed by an avalanche while skiing off-piste with friends at a Turkish resort.
Michael John Kreeft, 45, who was a United Nations official in the Turkish province of Gaziantep, travelled to the Erciyes Ski Resort in the province of Kayseri with his friends Harres Yakubi and Lukas Biedermann, ages not disclosed, on 16th January.
While skiing off the beaten track, a huge mass of snow fell on the tourists from a nearby valley, and police, medical, and search and rescue teams were sent to the scene.
Kayseri AFAD (Disaster and Emergency Management Administration) members pulled all three tourists out of the snow. However, Kreeft was confirmed dead at the scene.
The rescue team transported Kreeft’s body back on a snowmobile before it was taken to the morgue of Kayseri State Hospital.
An autopsy was carried out at the Turkish hospital, and the Canadian man’s body was sent back to his country on 18th January.
Numan Degirmenci, president of the Kayseri Ski and Snowboard Teachers Association, said: “Erciyes Ski Resort is one of the safest ski resorts in the world. It is safe only if the tourists ski according to the rules because they must only ski on the approved and specified slopes.
“When you go outside of these slopes, the danger of freshly fallen snow is serious. It can cost people their lives. To avoid this danger, it is necessary to not go off the slopes.
“Announcements are made in three languages here. We state that it is required to ski on the specified slopes. Despite these announcements, some people ski off the slopes, saying ‘I need more adrenaline’. However, this is an awful idea, because when they do this, it’s not sport anymore.”
It is unclear if the victim’s two friends suffered any injuries during the avalanche.