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Officials: Dutch prince severely injured in Austrian avalanche

By Melissa Gray, CNN
updated 1:41 PM EST, Sat February 18, 2012
Dutch Princess Mabel and Prince Johan Friso arrive at a concert building in Amsterdam on May 27, 2011.
Dutch Princess Mabel and Prince Johan Friso arrive at a concert building in Amsterdam on May 27, 2011.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Doctors say he is stable but not out of danger
  • The prince is the son of the Dutch queen
  • He was airlifted to a hospital in Innsbruck
  • He is in intensive care

(CNN) -- A member of the Dutch royal family was severely injured in an avalanche at an Austrian ski resort Friday, local authorities told CNN.

Prince Johan Friso, 43, a son of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, was skiing outside the bounds of the ski resort with friends at the resort of Lech am Arlberg when he was hit by an avalanche, a spokesman for the state of Vorarlberg said.

No one else in the group was affected, the spokesman said.

The prince was under the snow for a "short period of time," the spokesman said. He was wearing an electronic beacon that helped rescuers quickly find him, he said.

The prince was airlifted to a hospital in Innsbruck, where he is in intensive care, authorities said. Doctors described the prince as stable but not out of danger, according to a statement from the queen.

Lech am Arlberg is in Austria's Vorarlberg state, a popular skiing area in western Austria.

The region's avalanche agency reported there was a considerable to great chance of avalanches in Lech on Friday. It cited new snowfall on top of a packed layer of snow that could cause snow slabs to slide off.

The prince gave up his right to the throne when he married in 2004 without Parliament's permission. He and his wife live in London with their two daughters.

CNN's Francesca Church contributed to this report.

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