Devon

Ski firm accused over Kieran Brookes' lift death

Kieran Brookes
Image caption Kieran Brookes (front) was on a school ski trip to the French Alps when he got tangled in a lift

A ski lift operator and his employer have been charged with manslaughter after a British teenager died after a school trip to the French Alps.

Kieran Brookes, 14, from Devon, died after the straps of his backpack became entangled as he tried to get off a ski lift in Chatel.

Lawyers for SAEM Sports et Tourisme a Chatel confirmed the firm and Richard Cettour are due on trial this year.

Mr Cettour, 50, of Bonnevaux, France, was supervising the lift.

Suspended by clothing

Kieran, who went to Torquay Grammar School, was on a six-seat ski lift when he tried to climb off at the top of the slope, in February 2011.

He became suspended by his clothing for about four minutes before he was released, according to witnesses.

He was taken to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital intensive care unit where he died on 17 March 2011.

Kieran's father Nick, 50, an NHS manager from Bovey Tracey, Devon, said: "Not knowing the events which led to his death is something which holds back the healing process.

"We have some information about what went so dreadfully wrong but not all the details. We have a jigsaw but with some of the pieces missing."

SAEM and Mr Cettour are accused of failing to enforce a rule banning skiers from boarding the lift while wearing backpacks, not carrying out daily checks on equipment and not ensuring a safety device which could stop the lift was properly installed.

Mr Cettour is also accused of a number of failings, including not being at his post at the time of the accident and not reacting to other skiers' calls to hit the emergency stop.

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