British Skier Saves 2 Brothers' Lives During Mountain Helicopter Crash That Killed 3 Others

Edward Courage reportedly pushed brothers Teddy and Guy Hitchens out of the aircraft to safety as it slid down the mountainside

<p>Police of the Canton of Valais/AFP via Getty</p> Helicopters taking part in rescue operations

Police of the Canton of Valais/AFP via Getty

Helicopters taking part in rescue operations

A British skier is being hailed a hero after saving the lives of two brothers from a helicopter crash during an avalanche in the Swiss Alps.

Edward Courage reportedly pushed brothers Teddy and Guy Hitchens out of the aircraft to safety as it slid down the Petit Combin mountain near Verbier, Switzerland, on April 2, according to The Daily Telegraph, which first reported the news, and The Sunday Times.

In a statement to the Telegraph, the Police in Switzerland said, “Having reached the summit of a mountain culminating at 3,668m above sea level, for a reason that the investigation will have to determine, the aircraft slid down the northern slope.”

The authorities added that seven rescue helicopters were dispatched to the scene. The two Hitchens brothers, who were located a long way from the helicopter, were “quickly treated” before being “airlifted to a nearby hospital,” the outlet reported.

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As for Courage, he fell 500 meters down a near-vertical slope with the avalanche before ending up in a 30-meter crevasse. He was rescued after being stranded in the snow for more than five hours, per the Times. He had been located thanks to a transceiver that pinged his location, and was transported to the hospital with broken bones.

Per the Telegraph, Courage was among six people who had been in the Air-Glaciers B3-type helicopter, including the pilot Jerome Lovey, skier James Goff, and their U.S. guide, Adam George, who all died in the crash.

Another skier, who landed after the group on the south side of the mountain and witnessed the avalanche, told the outlet that “it was horrific.”

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“We couldn’t make out the helicopter, it was consumed in the avalanche. We heard of the crash over the radio. We were advised to get safely off the mountain,” the skier recalled.

Prior to the accident, both the Times and the Telegraph reported that the weather conditions for the mountain had been “perfect powder” with “no wind” expected.

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Richard and Maeve Hitchens, the parents of the Hitchens brothers shared in a statement to the Times, “Our thoughts are with the families of James, Adam and the pilot for their appalling losses.”

They also shared an update on the two brothers, saying, “Ted was released from hospital today on crutches. Guy is still in [the] hospital. No operations currently required but severely beaten up and bed-bound.”

The Swiss Federal Prosecutor’s Office, which investigates aviation incidents, and Swiss Safety Investigation Service have both launched investigations into the incident, per the Telegraph.

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