A five-year-old British girl has been killed in an accident on a ski slope in the French Alps, according to reports.
The girl was having a skiing lesson on the piste when a man skiing at high speed crashed into her, local media said. She died as she was being transported to hospital by helicopter.
Police have opened a manslaughter investigation and a 40-year-old French man has been arrested. The suspect, who was from the local area, is accused of skiing at excessive speed when he struck the victim, according to the local radio network French Bleu.
The accident happened on Saturday morning at around 11am in the ski resort of Flaine, in the Haute-Savoie region of the French Alps, 50 miles from the Swiss city of Geneva.
The girl was in a group ski lesson run by the national ski school, Ecole du Ski Français (ESF), with four other children.
The prosecutor overseeing the investigation told local media: “The child was in a single file behind the group and was about to make a right turn when she was very violently hit by the skier arriving at high speed who tried in vain to avoid her.”
The girl, who has not been named, lived in Geneva with her expatriate British family who have a holiday home in Les Carroz.
The suspect, reportedly a volunteer firefighter, was said to be “in a state of significant shock”. He administered first aid to the girl on the side of the piste where a doctor was also present.
Despite attempts at resuscitation, the victim was pronounced dead at 1pm while being airlifted to hospital.
An autopsy will take place on Monday to determine the cause of death.
The Independent approached the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office for comment.