Avalanche that killed Sydney teen 'triggered' by rescue process, family says

The parents of Max Meyer, who was killed in an avalanche have released a statement in relation to their son’s death, describing how a ski patrol’s rescue attempt “triggered” the avalanche that killed the Sydney schoolboy.

In a statement made by Thomas Meyer and Julie Schatz, the family said they attempted to contact the ski patrol for advice after getting stuck in deep snow.

Max Meyer, 16, was killed during an avalanche in Austria.

Max Meyer, 16, was killed during an avalanche in Austria. Credit:International Grammar School

“On Wednesday 9th January 2019 whilst skiing on the lower front slopes of St Anton, we ended up in a narrow valley between two main runs,” it stated. “Due to the depth of the snow, we considered it safer not to try to walk out, but to contact the ski patrol for advice and so that they would know our location.”

“The Austrian police at St Anton have confirmed this was the most responsible action to take.”

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The statement goes on to say that after the family got in contact with ski patrol, they were advised to remain at the location.

“At that point in time, we were uninjured, and in no immediate danger,” it read. “In the process of the ski patrol trying to reach us by skiing down from above us on the opposite side of the valley, an avalanche was triggered which engulfed us and tragically led to the death of our son Max.”

The parents also said the St Anton police were aware of the circumstances, with a full investigation underway.

Tributes began to pour in for the 16-year-old, who was about to enter year 11 at Sydney’s International Grammar School, after news of his death surfaced on Friday.

One of Max’s classmates, Jake Loh, told the Herald how he was a member of the school’s robotics team.

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“He was enthusiastic about robotics, he was a great kid and it’s a shame the school has lost him,” he said. “He was a good guy.”

Max was also a member of the school’s mock trial team and a talented athlete, according to the school’s website.

One person took to social media in tribute, writing: “You will always be remembered. See you in another life…. Love you.”

International Grammar School principal Shauna Colnan offered support to fellow students in an email to parents on Thursday night, confirming the death to the public on Friday.

“It is with deep sadness that I informed our school community yesterday that one of our students has died in an avalanche while skiing with his family,” she said. “I have spoken with Max’s father and have extended my deepest condolences on behalf of the IGS school community, and offered the family all of our support.”

Max’s parents also mentioned how the school’s community meant a “great deal” to them during the difficult time.

“We are incredibly grateful for the messages of love and support we have received following the tragic death of our beloved son Max,” it said. “Whilst this is obviously a profoundly difficult time for us, the support from our family and friends and from the International Grammar School community has meant a great deal.”

“We can find no words to express how much and how deeply Max was loved by us, and by so many others.

The family has requested privacy during the statement.

with AAP

Sarah is a journalist for The Sydney Morning Herald.

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