Dutch prince left brain-damaged

The 43-year-old royal, son of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, was hospitalised in Innsbruck after he was caught up in an avalanche at the resort of Lech, where he lay buried under snow for around 15 minutes before being rescued.

Doctors have now confirmed Friso is in a coma and it could be years before he makes any improvement.

Dr Wolfgang Koller, head of the trauma unit at Innsbruck’s University Hospital, says, “We cannot say today with certainty whether Prince Friso will one day regain consciousness. In any case, a neurological rehabilitation will be required that will take months, if not years… Our hope was that the patient’s mild hypothermia would provide some protection for the brain. This hope was not realised.”

The prince’s friend, hotel owner Florian Moosbrugger, who was skiing with the royal at the time of the accident, has been questioned by local police who are investigating what caused the avalanche.