Landlord Richard speaks of ski slope tragedy

PUBLISHED: 11:15 13 February 2008 | UPDATED: 22:26 26 October 2009

A DAD, whose mate was killed in a skiing holiday accident, has spoken of the tragedy. Richard Watkins, 40, was left badly bruised and with a nasty gash to his head which needed stitches, after the incident. He denied reports that he and his mates were dru

A DAD, whose mate was killed in a skiing holiday accident, has spoken of the tragedy.

Richard Watkins, 40, was left badly bruised and with a nasty gash to his head which needed stitches, after the incident.

He denied reports that he and his mates were drunk.

Mr Watkins, who is married with an 18-month-old son, said: "It was just a huge tragedy; a freak, one-in-a-million accident."

He said he, David Monk and another friend had had a few beers before having a meal at a run-side restaurant.

On leaving they saw a man they did not know pulling one of the orange crash barrier mats up the nursery slope.

"We had seen groups of people using the mats to slide down on the day before," said Mr Watkins.

"Kids were also sliding down the slope on metal trays.

"We helped the man pull the mat up the slope.

"When we were some way up it started to slide down and we all jumped on.

"What happened next I don't know. I woke up to find David beside me being worked on by paramedics."

David, 46, a father of two, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The makeshift sledge had hit the barrier at the bottom of the slope at the very spot where the crash mat had been removed.

Mr Watkins, landlord of the Green Man at Mill Green, near Hatfield, who lives in Codicote, was taken to hospital and later released.

He returned home last week but is still undergoing medical treatment for his injuries.

Mr Watkins, a member of Welwyn Rugby Club, said: "I'd known David for about four years. He was a really nice lad."

The accident happened in the Italian resort of Sauze d'Oulx.

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