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Dutch prince hit by avalanche flown to London

In this Feb. 19, 2011 file photo Netherland's Prince Friso, left, and his wife Princess Mabel, right, pose with their daughters Luana and Zaria for photographers during a photo session in the Austrian skiing resort of Lech. Austrian doctors treating the Dutch Prince Johan Friso say Friday, Feb. 24, 2012, he suffered massive brain damage after being buried by an avalanche last week and he may never regain consciousness. The 43-year-old prince will be moved at a later date to a private clinic for further treatment but it may take years before he awakens, if ever. In this Feb. 19, 2011 file photo Netherland's Prince Friso, left, and his wife Princess Mabel, right, pose with their daughters Luana and Zaria for photographers during a photo session in the Austrian skiing resort of Lech. Austrian doctors treating the Dutch Prince Johan Friso say Friday, Feb. 24, 2012, he suffered massive brain damage after being buried by an avalanche last week and he may never regain consciousness. The 43-year-old prince will be moved at a later date to a private clinic for further treatment but it may take years before he awakens, if ever. (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson, File)
By Mike Corder
Associated Press / March 1, 2012
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THE HAGUE, Netherlands—Dutch Queen Beatrix's second son, Johan Friso, was flown Thursday from Austria to a hospital in London nearly two weeks after a skiing accident left him with brain damage, the royal house announced.

Prince Friso was transferred to London's Wellington Hospital. The royal house said the hospital was chosen as the best place to care for Friso "in his current condition" and where doctors can try to begin rehabilitation.

He was left in a coma from being buried beneath the snow for 25 minutes after being hit by an avalanche near the Austrian village of Lech.

Dr. Wolfgang Koller of the Innsbruck hospital that initially treated Friso said it then took nearly 50 minutes to resuscitate the 41-year-old prince after he was pulled out. Koller told media last week that Friso, who is married with two young daughters, may never regain consciousness.

A royal house statement said treating Friso in London, where he lived before his accident, offers the "best prospect of continuity and stability" for Friso's wife, Princess Mabel and daughters Luana, 6, and 5-year-old Zaria.

The statement appealed for the media to respect the family's privacy.

Friso worked for years as an investment banker for Goldman Sachs. Since his 2004 marriage, he has served on various supervisory boards, worked for charitable organizations and helped found a low-cost airline. In 2011, he left a position as managing director at investment firm Wolfensohn & Company to became the chief financial officer of Urenco, the European uranium enrichment consortium.

During Mabel's vetting to join the royal house, the pair decided not to disclose the full extent of a university friendship she had with drug baron Klaas Bruinsma, who was later slain in a gangland killing.

Friso and Mabel decided to marry without seeking parliamentary approval, a decision that cut Frisco from the royal house and the line of succession. They are still members of the royal family and bear honorific titles of Prince and Princess of Oranje-Nassau.

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