Edinburgh scientist dies skiing in Swiss Alps

Catriona Neath was an outdoor enthusiast. Picture: contributed
Catriona Neath was an outdoor enthusiast. Picture: contributed
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A SCIENTIST from Edinburgh has died after falling nearly 1000 feet while skiing in the Swiss Alps.

Catriona Neath, 32, was on a ski touring holiday with her fiancé when the tragic accident occurred.

She fell down a snowy slope while on a 12,000ft peak in the Bernina Range, near the border with Italy.

Ms Neath was seriously hurt in the accident on April 10 and died at a hospital in the town of Chur the next day.

She and partner Peter Davies, 34, had been returning to the mountain hut where they were staying during their tour of the Italian-Swiss Alps.

Ms Neath, who was originally from Bruntsfield, worked as an environmental scientist with multinational design and consulting firm Arup and was based in Sheffield.

She had worked for the firm for ten years after graduating from the University of Leeds with a masters degree in geochemistry. She also had an honours degree in physical geography from the University of Sheffield.

She and her fiancé were avid skiers and outdoor enthusiasts. Her Facebook page shows them on previous trips to Switzerland, Norway and the Serre Chevalier ski resort in the French Alps.

The couple had also posted videos of themselves skiing on trips to Scotland.

Her sister, Susannah, who lives in Switzerland, and father John, 67, travelled to the remote region following the accident to be at her bedside.

Speaking at home in Viewforth, Mr Neath said: “This has been a very difficult time for us. I’m still in a bit of a daze and I don’t think it will sink in until after the funeral.

“I travelled out to Switzerland to be with her as soon as I got the call about what happened.”

Ms Neath had also carried out humanitarian work in Africa helping to provide clean water in the Ashanti region of Ghana.

In a statement, aid charity Ashanti Development said: “Volunteer Cat Neath died after a skiing accident. She fell and hit her head and never recovered consciousness.

“She was surrounded by her friends, one of whom was a doctor, and her partner was with her.

“Cat was one of the first of our volunteers. She was a geochemist, employed by Arup, and came to help sort out the water problems in Ashanti. We are all so very sorry to hear this news.”

Ski touring involves travelling long distances across mountainous terrain, both skiing downhill and climbing.

Ms Neath’s funeral will be held at Mortonhall Crematorium on Saturday.

A spokeswoman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: “We are aware of the death of a British national on April 11 in Switzerland. We are providing consular assistance at this difficult time.”

Fife businessman Jeremy Salvesen died on April 10

following a skiing accident in the French Alps. The 51-year-old from Elie was with his family in the resort of La Clusaz when it is understood he fell and hit his head on a rock.