Dutch prince rescued from avalanche, 'not out of danger'

Dutch Prince Johan Friso before the avalanche

Dutch Prince Johan Friso was hospitalized in intensive care Friday after venturing off trails to ski in western Austria and being caught in an avalanche.

"It's not the queen ... it's not the crown prince, but I will not make further statements until I know more," a harried Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte said when questioned not long after the incident occurred.

A government statement said that the prince's life was at risk. He was later said to be in stable condition but "not out of danger," according to CBC News, citing an updated government statement.

Friso may have been buried in the snow mass for up to 20 minutes, according to the Associated Press, which cited local media. A tourist authority in the region said Friso was found through signals from an avalanche transceiver on his body, the AP said.

Friso was with a group skiing off piste in the Austrian Alps when the avalanche occurred, though he was the only one buried, news outlets reported.

Friso is married to Mabel Wisse Smit, and they have two young daughters.

Their marriage created a stir in 2004 as Friso gave up any claim to the throne to be married to the commoner and human rights activist.

The Dutch government refused to endorse the union, saying Wisse Smit had given misleading information about her relationship with a deceased gangster, according to the Guardian.

Then-Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said in 2004 that the couple had given him "incomplete and incorrect information" during the standard prenuptial vetting process.

Wisse Smit and Friso later acknowledged misleading the government about the extent of her relationship with drug lord Klaas Bruinsma while she was in college in 1989.

The Dutch statement on the prince's condition said: "Her Majesty the Queen and Princess Mabel are with Prince Friso," according to the CBC.

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Photo: Prince Johan Friso skies with a family member last year in Lech, Austria, the area where he was buried Friday by an avalanche. Credit: Dietmar Mathis / EPA

 
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