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Prince Johan Friso of Netherlands critically injured in avalanche

Dutch prince Johan Friso is critically injured after being trapped in an avalanche while skiing in Austria.

Dutch prince johan friso netherlands 17 02 2012Enlarge
Left to right: HRH Princess Mable, HRH Prince Johan Friso, HRH Prince Constantin and HRH Princess Laurntien on June 12, 2004 in The Hague, The Netherlands. (Steve Finn/Getty Images)

Prince Johan Friso of the Netherlands is in hospital after being caught in an avalanche while skiing in the Austrian Alps.

"Doctors treating him describe the prince's condition as stable, but his life remains at risk," according to a government statement cited by the Associated Press.

He is believed to have a fractured skull, the Telegraph said, though there has not yet been any official statement on his injuries.

Austrian media reported the 43-year-old prince was trapped under snow for around 15 minutes before rescuers reached him by helicopter, according to the BBC

He was resuscitated at the scene and taken to hospital in Innsbruck, where he is in intensive care. The facility has reportedly been sealed off.

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He had been skiing off-piste near Lech, in the west of Austria, during a holiday with several other members of the Dutch royal family, including Queen Beatrix.

No one else was reported injured. "A snow slide came down and the prince was buried as the only member of the group," a spokesman for the ski resort told the AP.

The avalanche measured around 30 meters wide by 40 meters long, according to Lech's mayor, Ludwig Muxel.

The area has seen heavy snowfall this week, with several parts of the province cut off.

Prince Johan is the Queen's second son. He is not an heir to the throne, having married his wife, Mabel Wisse Smit, without the government's permission.