A little girl known locally as Ophélie was in a lesson on the slopes when an adult is said to have crashed into her at high speed. It happened at around 11am on Saturday in the resort of Flaine in France’s eastern Haute-Savoie department. The victim was airlifted to hospital but tragically died before arrival. The 40-year-old suspect, who has not been identified, has been in custody in Bonneviley, with an investigating source saying: “The skier involved in the death has been indicted for manslaughter.”
They added: “He has been placed under judicial control and is specifically accused of a deliberate violation of safety obligations.”
Witnesses said they watched the man, a volunteer firefighter, “skiing at high speed” over “a slight bump” and then colliding with the child.
Karline Bouisset, the public prosecutor in Bonneville, confirmed this.
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Following the collision, the skier tried to administer first-aid to Ophélie. However, she never recovered consciousness and died en route to the hospital at about 1pm.
The crime is punishable with up to five years in prison, and a fine equivalent to £62,000.
The girl lived with her British parents in Geneva, and they also own a holiday home in Les Carroz, another Alpine ski resort.
Jean-Paul Constant, the Mayor of nearby Arâches, said: “We are actively looking for a psychologist who speaks English for the family, who have returned to Geneva.
“They are suffering from extreme shock, as are many others involved in this tragedy.”
The criminal suspect, from Saint-Jeoire, is offering full cooperation to the authorities.
A post-mortem was due to take place on Monday to determine the cause of death, but the results had not been released in time.