Dutch Prince in Critical Condition After Skiing Accident

Feb. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Friso van Oranje, the second son of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, is in critical condition in an Austrian hospital after being buried in an avalanche while skiing, the Dutch Government Information Service said.

Friso, 43, was admitted to the intensive care unit of the hospital in Innsbruck, Austria, where he is “not out of danger of death,” the information service in The Hague said. Doctors won’t be able to give a prognosis for several days, it said.

The prince was skiing off-piste with another person without a guide and triggered the avalanche, according to Hermann Fercher, tourism director at Lech, the ski resort in the western Austrian province of Vorarlberg where the Dutch royal family regularly spends vacations.

“Only the prince was buried, and he was rescued within 20 minutes,” Fercher said by telephone today. An elevated avalanche risk of four on a scale of five was in effect in the region today, Fercher said. Friso was recovered by the Lech mountain rescue service and volunteers with the help of avalanche beacons and was helicoptered to Innsbruck.

Friso, the younger brother of Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, is chief financial officer at Urenco Ltd., a London-based uranium enrichment company. He gave up his claim to the throne in 2003 by deciding to marry Mabel Wisse Smit without parliament’s permission. Wisse Smit had provided incomplete information to the government during a background check about her past relationship with the late Klaas Bruinsma, the former head of a Dutch criminal organization.

Family Members Present

Queen Beatrix and Mabel joined Friso in the hospital, the Dutch government’s information service said. Willem-Alexander and Friso’s younger brother Constantijn are on their way to Innsbruck with their families, Dutch newswire ANP reported.

Snowfall and strong winds have raised the avalanche risk in many parts of the Austrian Alps, where two skiers died in an avalanche yesterday, according to the Austria Press Agency. Lech and neighboring Zuers were cut off overnight because of avalanche risk before roads were reopened this morning. The rail tunnel through the Arlberg mountain range remained closed until the evening.

Friso graduated in aeronautical engineering from the University of Delft and in economics from Erasmus University in Rotterdam, according to Urenco’s website. He joined the Amsterdam office of McKinsey & Co. in 1995 and moved to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s investment banking division in 1998, where he worked until 2003. Friso has been involved as an investor in technology companies and joined his current employer last year.

To contact the reporters on this story: Martijn van der Starre in Amsterdam at vanderstarre@bloomberg.net; Boris Groendahl in Vienna at bgroendahl@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Mariajose Vera at mvera1@bloomberg.net; Frank Connelly at fconnelly@bloomberg.net