A FATHER who was tragically killed in a ski accident has been revealed as a hero of Everest.
Fourteen years ago a freak summer storm triggered an avalanche in the foothills of Mount Everest, which Farnley Tyas skier James Ryan was caught up in.
It has been revealed that Mr Ryan, then a student in his early 20s, managed to summon help which undoubtedly saved several other skiers who had been buried alive.
But the 37-year-old tragically lost his own life last weekend beneath 8ft of snow as he made his way uphill with a guide and four friends on an off-piste skiing holiday in the Val di Rhêmes in the Italian Alps.
A group of friends pulled Mr Ryan, a lawyer, out of the snow but he died in the helicopter flying him to hospital.
They are now waiting for a prosecutor in Aosta to decide whether to pursue an investigation into suspected manslaughter on the grounds that they set off the avalanche themselves. They will find out two weeks from now.
His father Mel Ryan, of Almondbury, said his son was not a risk taker.
His experience included a trek in the foothills of Everest with friends in 1996, when the freak snowstorm caused an avalanche that buried a hut on their route.
“James and the others were the first to come across the avalanche. They found a radio, called for help and managed to dig out several survivors,” his father said.
His father dismissed the idea that the group could have caused the avalanche. “It’s out of the question. It wasn’t their fault,” he said.
“James was very conscientious and he was just very, very unlucky to be one of six people and five walk away with nothing. He was the one who didn’t make it, that’s it. It’s just one of those things. It’s fate.”
Mr Ryan leaves wife Helen and two children, Elizabeth, five, and William, two.
According to the initial police findings, the avalanche started 160ft above the party. The danger alert level was three on a scale of five.