British chef, 38, killed in Swiss Alps avalanche while skiing off piste
This is the first picture of a British chef who was killed in an avalanche while skiing off piste in the Swiss Alps.
The 38-year-old, named by friends as Jamie Clark, was a budding chocolatier who had been living at least seasonally in Verbier for much of the last decade.
Originally from Doncaster in South Yorkshire, Mr Clark was among 10 people swept away from the slopes at the popular alpine resort, to the east of Geneva, on Monday morning.
Eight escaped uninjured, local police said, while one was flown to hospital with serious injuries.
The avalanche occurred outside the piste between the Verbier ski area and ‘Les Attelas’ while the risk was three out of five, meaning “considerable” danger.
Heartbroken family and friends shared pictures of Jamie, known to pals as “Fireman Jamie”, as they paid tribute to him on social media.
In the days and weeks before he was killed, Jamie posted photos of bonbons he had made by hand, dishes he had plated at the Chez Dany mountain restaurant in Verbier, a German shepherd called Roxy and a snowmobile which he dubbed “the commuter”.
He went to McAuley Catholic High School in Doncaster, according to his Facebook profile.
A devastated friend shared an older photo of Jamie DJing at a party.
She wrote: “Jamie would want us all to get together – to meet & most of all DANCE!!!!! Love you all.
“My deepest condolences to his family.
“Id been in regular contact & he was loving life in Verbier & happy healthy. Sad freak accident.”
Another friend, who posted that photo of Jamie and another man, wrote: “These were the best times. RIP Fireman Jamie.
“Both gone to soon. Great memories of Toast.”
A post on the Yena clothing company’s Facebook page read: “Sorry to hear another legend from Verbier has passed away.
“Stay strong stay safe in those crazy conditions. RIP Jamie.”
Another friend wrote: “We lost a beautiful human being, taken from us far too soon.
“I will miss you from this day until my last my brother, and one day I’ll see you again up there.
“May you rest in peace Jamie Clark. We love you.”
The tragedy occurred when a skier entered an off piste sector, beneath the top station of the main Attelas lift, and a slab broke away and carried them down the slope.
A second person was then swept away and the avalanche then hit eight other skiers lower down the slope.
The local police force said: “On the morning of Monday, January 18 an avalanche swept away ten skiers outside the ski area in the Vacheret sector of Verbier.
“One person died and another was injured. The other skiers are unharmed.
“At around 10.20am, a skier was driving down a corridor below the ‘Attelas’ area.
“A snow drift came loose and carried the skier as well as another person who had been further down at the time.
“The flow then buried eight other skiers who were even lower.”
Several helicopters, search teams and sniffer dogs were sent to the site.
All of the skiers were wearing avalanche transceivers and were pulled from the snow.
Police said the British man died at the scene and a second person was airlifted to Sion hospital.
The Brit’s family has been informed.
An investigation has been launched.
It follows several days of heavy snowfall across Switzerland, which claimed the life of another skier who died after being buried alive by an avalanche while skiing in Gstaad.
Police said a 29-year-old man from Ireland, who lived in Valais, was killed in an avalanche in the Gentianes area on a popular off piste run.
Ski resorts in Switzerland remain open despite the coronavirus pandemic.