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Tributes after Cullercoats skier dies in accident in Alps

David Tapsfield from Cullercoats who lived in Chamonix and was killed after falling through a cornice on Mont Buet.

David Tapsfield from Cullercoats who lived in Chamonix and was killed after falling through a cornice on Mont Buet.

Tributes have been paid to a Cullercoats man who died while skiing in the French Alps.

David Tapsfield died after being carried for more than 2,000 feet down the face of a mountain in the Alps at around 1pm on Tuesday.

The 27-year-old had been preparing to ski on the north east face of Mont Buet with friend Lorne Cameron when he fell through a large cornice onto the face below, triggering an avalanche which carried him down the mountain.

After a 15 minute search, Mr Cameron frantically dug his friend out of the snow and tried to resuscitate him.

Emergency services were called and Mr Tapsfield was airlifted to hospital but he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Speaking of the tragic accident, Mr Cameron said: “I dug his face out quickly and was sure that he was already dead, but performed CPR for 40 minutes until the rescue helicopter arrived.

“On arrival the crew took over and evacuated me to Chamonix after just a few minutes then came back to fly Dave to Sallanches hospital where he was declared dead from trauma sustained during the fall.

“I had only skied with Dave around ten to 15 times previous and hung out off the hill just a little, but I knew him well enough to know what a genuine and happy guy he was with a fun approach to skiing and I was sure of both his ski skills and mountain sense.

“He will be sorely missed in Chamonix by many.”

Mr Tapsfield had studied at college in America after earning a football scholarship after being part of the Football Development Scheme at TyneMet College.

He moved to France from Whitley Bay a few years ago and was an experienced mountaineer.

Mont Buet is the highest mountain peak in the Chamonix area.

Mr Tapsfield’s funeral will take place on Sunday in the Les Praz church in Chamonix.

 

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