Image: Prince Friso, Princess Mabel, Luana, Zaria
Kerstin Joensson  /  AP
Netherland's Prince Friso, left, and his wife Princess Mabel, right, pose with their daughters Luana and Zaria during a photo session in the Austrian skiing resort of Lech in this Feb. 19, 2011.
updated 2/18/2012 11:38:57 AM ET 2012-02-18T16:38:57

The second son of Dutch Queen Beatrix spent a stable night in the hospital after he was seriously injured in an avalanche, but his life remains in danger, the Netherlands government said Saturday.

Prince Johan Friso, 43, was rushed to the intensive care unit of Innsbruck's main hospital Friday after he was buried under snow. He had been skiing off marked trails in the westernmost Lech winter sports region.

The statement Saturday said "his life is still in danger, but he had a calm and stable night."

Video: Dutch prince not out of the woods (on this page) Hospital officials did not issue a statement on the prince's condition. But the usually well-informed Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad said the prince suffered serious oxygen deprivation.

The paper quoted Claudius Thome, head of neurosurgery at the hospital, as saying Friso did not suffer a skull fracture or any other external injuries.

The only serious problem appeared to be lack of oxygen, with Friso being buried for 20 minutes and the fact that the on-scene reanimation took "pretty long," he was quoted as saying.

Thome was quoted as saying that Friso's body temperature was only 32 degrees Celsius — about 90 degrees Fahrenheit — and that was "reasonably positive" because when temperatures are lower the body can make do with less oxygen.

Thome's remarks were reportedly made to the surgeon husband of Handelsblad reporter Jannetje Koelewijn. The paper said both were in Lech when the accident occured and later in Innsbruck.

After rushing to the hospital from Lech Friday, the queen and Friso's wife, Princess Mabel, paid another visit to the intensive care ward where Friso was being treated. Both women were dressed in black and wearing sunglasses. Mabel put her arm protectively around the queen's shoulders as the two passed a line of waiting journalists without saying anything.

The accident happened early Friday afternoon as the prince was on slopes away from the marked ski runs and laden with snow after weeks of record falls. His companion, an unidentified Austrian, escaped unhurt.

The Lech municipal office said a regional avalanche warning issued for the day was four on the five-point scale, meaning the danger was high.

Spokeswoman Pia Herbst of the Lech region tourist authority said rescuers found Friso through signals of an avalanche transceiver on his body.

Friso was in Lech along with other members of the royal family, whose members ski regularly there. The upscale resort area has also been a popular winter holiday destination for Tom Cruise, the late Princess Diana and other celebrities.

The second of Beatrix's three sons, Friso gave up any claim to the Dutch throne to marry Dutch commoner Mabel Wisse Smit, in 2004. The pair has two daughters, Luana and Zaria. He most recently worked as financial director at Urenco, the European uranium-enrichment consortium.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Dutch prince not out of the woods

  1. Closed captioning of: Dutch prince not out of the woods

    >>> thanks. a dutch prince is recovering from serious injuries this morning after being buried under and avalanche. as nbc's duncan golasta anyi reports he was taking part in a popular royal pastime.

    >> reporter: it's long been the winter playground for european royalty from charles and dinah and william and indicate. the british areas of in switzerland. each year queen buy trix vacations there. he's in the hospital after being buried in an avalanche. his condition described as stable but not out of danger. the result was on hiort was on high aler t. the prince well knows the area since having vacationed there since childhood. he was skiing on irregular trails and unmarked paths. he was quickly buried in 100 feet of snow. this rescuer says the prince was dug out 20 minutes after he was cover and given first aid. he said that was a good size. there's his wife mabel. their wedding failed tradition because they failed to ask parliament for permission to marry.

    >> it turns out mabel had a rocky time in school.

    >> reporter: since then the family has lived quietly in london, but for now they gather in a austrian hospital hoping for the prynneince's recovery.

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