Page last updated at 15:29 GMT, Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Skier 'serious' after gang attack

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The brawl erupted in Zell am See on Saturday

A 19-year-old man is seriously ill in hospital after he and his two brothers were attacked on the first day of a skiing holiday in Austria.

Police said the Flintshire man, whose identity has not been released, and his brothers were confronted by a gang of about 20 in Zell am See.

The victim, from near Mold, was airlifted unconscious to Salzburg after suffering serious head injuries.

The Foreign Office said three people had been charged with serious assault.

The teenager was with his brothers and another man at the Viva nightclub on Saturday when they became involved in a dispute with three Bosnian immigrants.

Surrounded

Local police spokesman Joachim Kroberth said it was not clear what started the brawl.

Mr Kroberth said there had been "some words between the British and three Bosnian immigrants inside the bar."

After leaving the bar, eyewitnesses claimed the four tourists were surrounded and attacked by a gang of about 20.

One man managed to get away unharmed and called the police for help.

Eyewitness Jan Litz said: "They were kicked in the head and body even as they lay on the ground, and were trying to protect themselves.

"The Bosnians steamed into them - they didn't stand a chance.

"They curled up on the pavement as the blows kept on coming. I saw a lot of blood."

Broken cheekbone

Marion Telsnig, of Thomson Ski, the holiday company which organised the trip, said the man taken to hospital had now recovered consciousness and was "stable", awaiting an operation.

She said three brothers and a friend had become involved in an incident at a bar shortly after arriving in the ski resort on Saturday night.

She said two of the young men had been treated for minor injuries at a local hospital, but a third was airlifted to hospital with a broken cheekbone and bleeding head.

She said the company was liaising closely with the victim's family, Austrian police and the British consul.

A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokeswoman said: "We are aware of the incident on 22 March. Three British nationals were injured and we understand one remains in hospital.

"His injuries are serious but not life-threatening. We are providing consular assistance.

"Three people have been arrested and charged with serious assault."




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