Mountain Guides Accept Plea Bargain as they Face Charges of Manslaughter Over Avalanche Death of Skier they were Guiding

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Italian alps, guides charged, avalanche
Italian Alps. Credit: Alta Badia

Two mountain guides have accepted a plea bargain over the death of a British banker after an off-piste expedition in the Italian Alps turned to disaster, reports the Telegraph.

Graeme Porteous was killed when fresh snow turned to liquid beneath him, sweeping him 100-feet down a mountain.

Italian alps, guides charged, avalanche
Graeme Porteous, who was killed in a ski accident in the Italian Alps. Credit: Telegraph

During a trip to north-west Italy in February 2015, Mr. Porteous and two friends employed French ski guides Matthieu Desprat and Bruno Roche to take them off piste. But the party ventured into a gully filled with knee deep snow which gave way beneath them, sweeping Mr. Porteous away and smashing him into a tree.

The 48-year-old had hired M. Desprat and M. Roche to guide him and his friends safely through the slopes of Bosco Castello, in Argentera, a day after a huge snowfall led to the closure of ski runs to the public.

Italian alps, guides charged, avalanche
Bosco Castello, in Argentera, Italy.

Although he had managed to inflate his avalanche airbag to stop himself being buried in the snow, and even managed to joke with the friends who rushed to his aid, he lost consciousness moments later and died as an Alpine rescue team transported him down the mountain.

Following the accident, local officials described the conditions in which Mr. Porteous and his party were skiing as potentially treacherous. Raffaele Bagnis, head of the Alpine rescue team, said:

“They had gone off-piste and provoked the avalanche. There was too much snow to be out there.”


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