A former Northbrook College student who suffered a horrific snowboarding accident in the French Alps has died.

Emily Watts, known as Mimi, was left fighting for her life after she fell headfirst into a snowdrift and was stuck for about 45 minutes following the incident in Chamonix on Saturday, December 8.

By the time emergency crews had arrived, the 26-year-old former design student at Northbrook College in Worthing had suffered a cardiac arrest, which doctors feared may have led to brain damage.

Her parents, Nicky McAllister and Dominic Watts, along with her 27-year-old brother Rory, flew to France to be by her bedside but after a number of days on a life support machine, Mimi died yesterday (December 13).

The family released a statement earlier this week acknowledging that her outlook was “very bleak”.

Under French law it is doctors who decide whether to continue life support or not, but it is not yet known whether Mimi died as a result of the machines being turned off.

Her rescue was delayed because she fell into a 70cm deep pile of snow that obscured her from view.

She was only discovered thanks to a British man who saw a mark in the snow as he skied past, stopped and ran back up the slope to check it out.

Specialist care

The design student was evacuated to hospital in nearby Annecy before being transferred to a specialist unit.

It is believed no-one else was involved in the accident, but her family denied that Mimi would have gone skiing on her own and said she was with friends prior to the accident.

The experienced snowboarder had been in France for a few weeks and was working at the resort.

French police were unable to notify the family for a day as Miss Watts was not wearing any identification on her when she was rescued.

Speaking to The Argus yesterday, Miss Watts’ aunt, Shona Pollock, who works in Sussex, said: “She was the most marvellous person and there really is nothing more to say - she was just a lovely girl with her whole life ahead of her. It’s just a tragic accident.”

Send your tributes to neil.vowles@ theargus.co.uk

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