By Mail Foreign Service
Last updated at 4:50 PM on 28th December 2010
The wife of a skier killed in an avalanche has told of the moment she first realised they were in mortal danger.
David Robinson, 67, was skiing in Val d'Isere, France, with wife Christine Hughes on Boxing Day when the massive avalanche struck.
Christine, 50, managed to activate her safety airbag as both she and her husband were buried beneath the snow.
Tragic: David Robinson, 67, was skiing in Val d'Isere, France on Boxing Day when a massive avalanche struck. Buried in the snow, he had a heart attack and died later in hospital. His wife Christine (above) survived the incident
Father-of-two David, who could not activate his airbag, had a heart attack as he spent 20 minutes three feet under snow.
He was found by rescuers and taken to Grenoble hospital but later died.
Distraught Christine said: 'You hear a kind of sonic boom when it is unstable - and I felt that boom.
'I could tell something was happening. Then all of a sudden cracks started appearing underneath us.'
British skiing guide Wayne Watson dug Christine out from under the snow after the 320ft long and 50ft wide avalanche struck.
Caught up: Christine, 50, managed to activate her safety airbag but her husband - a former Olympic sailing coach - was unable to activate his
Writing on his blog, Wayne wrote: 'I am so sorry to tell you that David passed away this afternoon with his wife Chrissy and best friend Keith by his side.
'As you can imagine it's been the worst 36 hours imaginable and it's going to take a long time to come to terms with.'
He said Mr Robinson, a former Olympic sailing coach who owned his own sail-making business, had been located using an avalanche beacon - a beeping device used to find skiers.
Christine said both she and her husband of three years had been wearing safety equipment, including the avalanche beepers and airbags, at the time of the accident, which happened at about 9,000ft.
Airbags help keep skiers buoyant and save them being buried deep down in snow.
Friend Paul Nevard said: 'They were very accomplished skiers who love going off-piste. But they have all the latest safety equipment, always go with an experienced guide and never take silly risks.
Ski death: John Atkinson, pictured with his wife Sue, died skiing last week in Les Deux Alpes, also in France
'Their guide had skied there for 20 years and knows the place inside out.
'As far as I know, David had never been involved in an avalanche. It is such a tragic and random event.'
The couple, who have been together for 22 years and lived in Southampton, had been due to stay at the French resort for a month.
They had travelled to the popular skiing destination with four other friends.
Their accident came four days after fellow Brit John Atkinson died on the second day of his holiday in the nearby resort of Les Deux Alpes.
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