British girl, aged 5, killed in collision on French Alps ski slope

A 5-year-old British girl was violently hit by a skier in the French ski resort of Flaine on Saturday and has subsequently died from her injuries.

British girl, aged 5, killed in collision on French Alps ski slope

The British girl was on a beginner ‘blue’ slope called “Les Serpentines” in a skiing class with several other children when she was hit by a skier who had not managed to control his speed, according to French media reports.

The eastern region of Bonneville’s public prosecutor’s office where Flaine is located said, “The child was in a line behind the group and was about to make a right turn when she was very violently hit by the skier arriving at high speed who tried in vain to avoid her,” reported media agency France Bleu.

She died while being transported by helicopter and did not survive her injuries.

The girl was skiing with her English family who live in Geneva and have a second home in the area, in Les Carroz.

The skier, a man from Haut-Savoie in his forties, was reportedly extremely shocked and was taken into custody by the police, who have since opened an investigation for manslaughter, according to French journal Le Dauphiné.

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Covid health pass: Why UK families need to know rules in French ski resorts

Changes to France's Covid rules mean that family skiing holidays could now become very difficult for those travelling from the UK with older children.

Child mounts a ski lift. New Covid rules in France make it complicated to visit the country for a skiing holiday with young children.
New Covid rules in France make it complicated to visit the country for a skiing holiday with young children. (Photo by RAYMOND ROIG / AFP)

France on Thursday announced a raft of changes to its health rules as it battles with a fifth wave of Covid.

You can read the full list of changes HERE but there are two changes that particularly concern family skiing holidays – the health pass is now compulsory in order to use ski lifts, and those who are not fully vaccinated need to take a Covid test every 24 hours in order to use the health pass.

The health pass is required for everyone over the age of 12, and this is a particular problem for UK families, since most UK teenagers have so far only been offered a single dose of the Covid vaccine – not enough for them to count as ‘fully vaccinated’ under French rules.

Children aged between 12 and 18 therefore have the choice of taking a Covid test every 24 hours – at a cost of up to €22 a time for antigen tests – or avoiding using ski lifts while on holiday.

READ ALSO Covid rules in France’s ski resorts this winter

In France, children over the age of 12 are required to have had two shots of AstraZeneca, Pfizer or Moderna, or a single shot of Johnson & Johnson, to be considered fully vaccinated, the same as the rule for adults.

This is less a problem for French over 12s, of whom 73 percent have received both doses and 80 percent a first dose, while the majority of EU countries are also offering two doses. But in the UK the majority of teenagers are only offered a single dose. 

This means that the only other option for children is to present a negative Covid test. But new rules in France mean that a negative result remains valid for only 24 hours – in other words, children without two doses of Covid vaccine who want to ski must get tested every day of the holiday.

Not only is this an uncomfortable procedure but it is also costly. Visitors to France are typically charged visitors are charged up to €22 for an antigen tests or €44 for a PCR test. Either test type works with the health pass.

READ ALSO France sets 7 month limit on Covid health pass and opens up booster jabs to all

It is not just on the slopes that the health pass in being used in French ski resorts. Bars, restaurants, cafés, play centres and even some hotels also require visitors to be fully vaccinated. 

It is also not worth trying to cheat the system. Not only is it illegal, but it also puts others at danger and could land you a hefty fine. Using someone else’s valid health pass can land you with a maximum penalty of €750 for first offence, while using a fake health pass can result in a maximum fine of €75,000 and five years in prison. 

With Covid cases in France rising at “lighting speed”, the French Prime Minister, Jean Castex, explained that enforcing the use of the health pass in French ski resorts was an important public health measure. 

“It guarantees the safety of skiers,” he told Le Parisien