Story By: Koen Berghuis, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
This is the beautiful young snowboarder who suffocated to death after plunging head first into a snowdrift.
According to local media, Swiss woman Pascale Albrecht, 24, died during a winter sport outing with friends to the Schafberg ski area in the westernmost Austrian state of Vorarlberg.
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Pascale, who was a snowboard teacher and had extensive experience on the slopes, lost her balance when going down a slope and tumbled some 65 feet.
She ended up stuck head first into the five-foot deep snow at the bottom of the incline.
According to the local police, Pascale’s three companions eventually managed to dig her out from the snow but found that her heart had stopped beating.
They immediately started to resuscitate her until paramedics arrived at the scene. But in the end they were unable to save her life and could only declare her dead on the spot.
Friends and relatives of the woman posted several personal farewells and obituaries to social media.
One person wrote: “In full joy while snowboarding you have left us. We are unspeakably sad, but happy about the great moments we could spend with you.”
The University Hospital of Zurich where Pascale, who studied biology and psychology, was working, wrote that they were “deeply upset and saddened” by the loss.
Pascale also studied abroad during an exchange semester at Macquarie University in Australia.
In an ad which she posted looking for a student room she described herself as “easy-going person, sociable, positive thinker and always optimistic”.
She wrote: “I love the ocean and the sun that’s why I wanted to come to Australia. In Switzerland I’m a snowboard teacher in winter, so can’t wait to learn surfing!”
The Austrian police has in the meanwhile finished the investigation into the death of Pascale.
A police spokesman said: “We assume that she tumbled down the piste after making a mistake on her run down.”
The police said she died from suffocation in the deep pack of snow.
The spokesman said: “We have a lot of snow right now. As soon as people get off the piste, they literally sink.
“Once you’re upside down in such a thick pack of snow, you have no chance to free yourself.”