Snowboarder's body is finally found
A FAMILY'S agonising wait to bring home the body of a snowboarder killed in the French Alps is over after rescue teams discovered his remains.The anguished parents of Sam Harber have revealed that their son's body was found on the day of his 26th birthday – more than two months after he was killed by an avalanche.
A FAMILY'S agonising wait to bring home the body of a snowboarder killed in the French Alps is over after rescue teams discovered his remains.
The anguished parents of Sam Harber have revealed that their son's body was found on the day of his 26th birthday – more than two months after he was killed by an avalanche.
While Barry Harber and his former wife Kristina Castro Pinto will have to wait a week before the body is flown home, they last night spoke of their sense of relief that their long and agonising wait is now over.
Mr Harber said: “We are both very happy he was found as this waiting game has been so hard for both of us.
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“It was spooky that he was found on his birthday but it is such a huge relief that we can finally get him back to these shores and lay him to rest. There was absolutely nothing we could do – we just had to sit around and wait for news.
“It is hard to know what to say. It is a relief as it has been mentally hard thinking about his body being stuck up there. We tried to say it was not Sam up there, just his shell, but it didn't really help that much.”
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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 of the avalanche was so ferocious that a special beacon Mr Harber had been carrying for just such an emergency was 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.
The family kept in close contact with British Consulate officials while rescue helicopters were restricted to limited searches of the Alps due to the treacherous conditions.
Mr Harber, of Lawshall, added: “We have not heard too much – we just had a phone call saying Sam had been found. I guess the weather conditions must have been more suitable for searching.
“We have now been told it will still take a week or so to get him back with all the paperwork and everything.”
A keen traveller, Mr Harber had visited more than 25 countries and scaled the same peak where the avalanche struck just a few months before the tragedy, raising more than £15,000 for victims of the tsunami disaster.
His family are now drawing up the arrangements for Mr Harber's funeral.