3:28pm Thursday 19th December 2013
TRIBUTES have been paid to a “kind” and “talented” Hampshire schoolboy killed in a devastating avalanche in Austria.
Winchester College has today spoken of their deep sorrow at the death of their student Cameron Bespolka who was killed when the ridge of snow fell on top of him when he was holidaying in the luxury resort of Lech am Arlberg.
The 16-year-old triplet from Winchester was buried by the wall of ice in the Austrian Alps while on a skiing lesson with his triplet brother Nicolas and father Kevin and an experienced instructor.
Austrian authorities investigating the incident confirmed Cameron died at the scene while Kevin, 51, was pulled out alive and airlifted to hospital in the town of Feldkirch where he is in intensive care being treated for severe lung and knee injuries.
Nicholas was uninjured because he was following slightly behind.
The 39-year-old ski instructor faces a criminal investigation over charges of “negligence leading to serious injury with fatal consequences”.
Cameron attended Winchester College and in a statement released today, headmaster Ralph Townsend said he was “deeply sorrowed” and added: “ “Cameron was universally regarded as a gentle, kind, talented boy who was very popular with staff and pupils alike.
“He was modest and had a quiet, individual style, but was a strong personality and instantly likeable.
“Patient and caring, he put people immediately at their ease.
“He also had an impish and dry sense of humour.”
The tragedy happened shortly before 1.30pm on Tuesday (December 17).
Cameron's mother Corrine, his triplet sister Meg and younger sister Sienna, 12, were believed to be at the hotel at the time.
Cameron, who previously went to Pilgrims School in Winchester was a keen birdwatcher who regularly posted pictures of birds he saw on social networking sites such as Facebook and Flickr and his own blog.
He was also a talented tennis player and cross country runner.
Mr Townsend added: “Birdwatching was his biggest passion. He was the keenest young birder in the school and his interest, enthusiasm and knowledge were recognised outside the School.
“He had a bright future in ornithology and probably wildlife and conservation as a whole. His enthusiasm was infectious and he was wonderful company, so his friends regularly asked if they could join him on his birding trips to the School's water meadows or St Catherine's Hill.
“On Sundays he would often get up at 6 am to go birding.”
“In an example of his characteristic generosity, he recently invited the whole of his year group in his boarding house on a day out to celebrate his 16th birthday. The typical style with which Cameron and his parents organised this made it feel like a relaxed family day out.”
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