Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Carry on skiing, says fiancée of pilot killed in avalanche

James Whalley, pictured with fiancèe Holly Hill, died at Val d’Isère 

 The air stewardess fiancée of a pilot killed in an avalanche said today that she wants to work on the aircraft named after him — and said skiing deaths should not stop people taking to the slopes.

Captain James Whalley, 32, one of easyJet’s youngest pilots, died in the French Alps last year. An Airbus 319 was named after him after colleagues at Gatwick pressed for a fitting tribute.

He and his girlfriend Holly Hill, 24, a former beauty queen, had planned to marry, with friends teasing them that they would have “the best-looking kids in the world”.

Ms Hill, from Hove, Sussex, said: “It has taken a long, long time for me to go back because everything reminded me of him, and it was very daunting. It was the hardest thing I had to tackle, but now I feel better in myself and easyJet are being very supportive.”

Ms Hill, who returned to work last month after more than a year away from the airline, said: “I’ve not been in James’s aircraft but I want to — to feel very close to him up in the sky.”

Captain Whalley was among four skiers buried by a 300ft-wide avalanche as they skied off-piste at the resort of Val d’Isère in January last year.

Ms Hill said: “People do a lot of things at their own risk. They pay a lot of money to go with guides off-piste and it shouldn’t stop. James had been skiing off-piste for years. It was just a freak accident and you can’t help it.

“It has been very hard for the guide, as he watched it happen from above.”

Maia Hirvimies, of easyJet, said at the time of Capt Whalley’s death: “James was such a lovely guy. He was always so positive and full of life, and he loved Holly.

“Everyone was always teasing them how their children would be the best-looking kids in the world, as they were the most stunning couple.”

Three British skiers have died in the French Alps within the last week.

Paul Wenning slipped on ice and fell 100 feet down a steep ridge in the resort of Chamonix last Thursday, while Charterhouse teacher Ed How, 37, fell 650 feet to his death while skiing off-piste in Val d’Isère last Tuesday.

Tom Lynch, 22, died on the same day after smashing into a snow-making cannon on a piste at the resort.

Source:  http://www.thisislondon.co.uk

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