Search for tragic snowboarder delayed

THE body of a snowboarder killed in an avalanche in the French Alps may not be recovered for another two months, his distraught family has revealed.The grieving parents of Sam Harber last night spoke of their anguish as search teams remain unable to retrieve the 25-year-old's body due to treacherous conditions - more than a month after he was killed.

THE body of a snowboarder killed in an avalanche in the French Alps may not be recovered for another two months, his distraught family has revealed.

The grieving parents of Sam Harber last night spoke of their anguish as search teams remain unable to retrieve the 25-year-old's body due to treacherous conditions - more than a month after he was killed.

His father Barry said British Consulate officials have warned the family may have to wait until July before they are able to fly home the body as helicopters constantly circulate the Alps looking for a sign that it is safe to resume searching.

Mr Harber told the EADT: "We have to move on but it is hard as we can't sort out anything, we can't do anything at all. We are trying to cope but it has just been a horrendous time.


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"We had been initially warned it could be as late as June but now we have been told it could actually be July - it is just taking so long.

"I'm not quite sure what the situation is at the moment and we believe the normal search parties are only there during the winter months.

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"I have been told a helicopter keeps flying over monitoring the situation and when it is deemed that enough snow has melted and it is safe, they will start the recovery process."

Extreme sports enthusiast Mr Harber, who lived in Ixworth, near Bury St Edmunds, and fellow snowboarder, James Rourke, 26, died on April 21 when they became trapped in a torrent of ice, snow and rock.

Eyewitnesses said the impact was so ferocious that Mr Harber's avalanche beacon had been ripped from him, hindering rescue attempts.

Although the body of Mr Rourke, who was from the Brighton area, was found days after the tragedy, search teams were unable to trace Mr Harber and it is believed he remains undiscovered in metres of snow.

His father, of Lawshall, visited the scene shortly after Mr Harber's death and said he had been comforted by tributes from Sam's friends and work colleagues.

"What they said about Sam was such a fantastic reaction and they were a lovely bunch of people," Mr Harber said.

"They had a celebration for him just after we came back and 300 people turned up - just from one little resort in France.

"Everyone said how nice and what a good friend he was and everything just proved how extremely popular he was."

A keen traveller, Mr Harber had visited more than 25 countries and scaled the peak where the avalanche struck just a few months before the tragedy - raising more than £15,000 for victims of the tsunami disaster.

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