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No plans for criminal probe of fatal ski accident, police say

A 15-year-old died after falling 6-8 metres off a cliff while off-piste skiing at a resort in central Finland on Saturday.

Himoksen laskettelukeskus Jämsässä 17. helmikuuta
Photo of Himos ski resort, from 17 February 2019. Image: Hannu Rainamo / Lehtikuva

After equipment inspections, site surveys and interviews, police in central Finland said on Monday they found no reason to open a criminal investigation into the death of a young man who fell off a cliff while skiing in Northern Himos over the weekend.

The 15-year-old from southwestern Finland's island village of Pargas was skiing with a group of friends off-piste - or away from prepared ski trails - when he fell some 6-8 meters off the cliff.

The group was taking part in a church-organised confirmation camp, which was called off after the accident took place.

Police said their preliminary investigation revealed that the ski equipment the accident victim rented from the Himos ski resort - including downhill skiing gear, helmet and protective goggles - were in proper working order.

An investigation into the cause of the young man's death will continue, but police said on Monday they would not offer further information about the incident.

Safety agency also investigating

The Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes) - along with help from the Finnish Ski Area Association and the Himos ski resort - is also looking into the accident, according to the agency's lead expert Mervi Murtonen.

On Twitter Murtonen said that groups which organise events like confirmation camps need to explain potential risk factors to participants in advance.

Tukes carried out safety checks at Himos between 2016 and 2018, and gave the resort largely positive reviews. The ski slopes, signage and instructions provided by the resort were deemed to be satisfactory, according to the agency's assessment at the time.

Both the Finnish Red Cross and the local church in Pargas have organised support sessions for people affected by the fatal accident.

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