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Exchange student dies after Montana skiing accident

KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — Flathead County officials say a 16-year-old German exchange student has died after a skiing accident in northwestern Montana.

Sheriff Chuck Curry says Niclas Waeschle of Ulm, Germany, died Sunday morning at a Kalispell hospital after his parents flew into town and decided to discontinue life support.

Fellow skiers found Waeschle unresponsive in a tree well at Whitefish Mountain Resort on Dec. 29. Resort spokesman Donnie Clapp says a nurse who was skiing performed CPR until ski patrol arrived and took over treatment.

Clapp says it is unknown how long the boy was stuck in the tree well, which is a pocket of loose snow that forms near the lower branches of evergreen trees. About 5 inches of new snow was reported at the resort on the day of the accident, and wind-blown snow drifts of more than 18 inches were reported throughout the mountain.

“We lost a member of the skiing family yesterday, and that brings a sadness that only other skiers and snowboarders can understand,” Clapp said Monday. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”

Curry says the cause of death is still under investigation, but he told the Missoulian newspaper the boy likely suffocated in the tree well. Waeschle was an exchange student at Columbia Falls High School.

Tags: skiing