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 Monday, 6 January, 2003, 23:18 GMT
Skier rescued after texting mum
The Dolomites
The accident happened in the Dolomite range
A British skier was rescued from an Italian mountain after sending a text message to his mother in Derbyshire pleading for help.

Alexander Smith became lost after being separated from his friends while skiing off-piste in the Dolomites.

After falling off a small ledge and being unable to get down the mountain the 36-year-old sent out the mobile plea to his mother after being unable to contact his friends on their mobiles.

It's a bit embarrassing really

Alexander Smith
Mother Carol received the message in Matlock, Derbyshire, and phoned police in Italy.

They mobilised a search party to pluck Mr Smith from 5,000ft up the Ornella mountain range at Arabba near Belluno in the Dolomites.

His mother, who lives in Buckinghamshire, was shocked to read the message from her son, which said: "I'm in difficulty quick call police in Arabba."

Italian police managed to raise Alexander, from Kennington, south London, on his mobile phone and told him to stay where he was as he was walking straight for the edge of the mountain.

Eventually, after being lost for more than six hours and with temperatures plunging to minus 10C, Alexander was rescued and returned to his hotel.

His mother said: "You can imagine my horror when I got his text message. I didn't even know he had gone skiing."

'Very chilly'

She added: "I have told him from now on to leave me an itinerary of where he is going so I know what he is up to."

Alexander, was is now back in London, said: "My mother was one of several people I sent text messages to. I've since found out that a friend I texted called Scotland Yard, who called Interpol.

"It was getting very chilly and after a few hours I couldn't even take my phone out of my pocket because it was so cold to check if I had any calls or messages.

"It's a bit embarrassing really."

Police captain Federico Quintani said: "Every winter we are called to numerous rescue but this is the first time we have been alerted via a telephone call from England."

See also:

31 Dec 02 | England
18 Nov 02 | Europe
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