Austrian World Cup skier Bjorn Sieber has died after a minibus in which he was travelling with his brother plunged down a 200ft slope near their home in the Alps.
The tragic accident - the day before the start of the new season - has also left Sieber's brother with head injuries in a serious condition in hospital.
Sieber, 23, was a super combined specialist and a medalist at the junior world championships. He was a strong favourite at the opening World Cup round in Soelden, Austria, tomorrow.
Crash site: The crumpled minibus lies at the bottom of a 200ft slope in Schwarzenberg. Austrian skier Bjorn Sieber suffered fatal injuries in the accident
Tragic loss: Sieber's death comes a day before the first round of the World Cup, where he was a favourite
In a statement on its website, The Austrian Ski Federation paid tribute to Sieber, saying that he left behind 'a big hole in the Austrian Ski Federation team, in the sporting and personal senses. All our thoughts and our sympathy go to his family at this difficult time'.
The statement added that Sieber 'was considered one of the greatest all-round talents in the Austrian ski team'.
It is not clear whether Sieber and his brother were the only passengers in the minibus, which crashed near the village of Schwarzenberg in the Austrian Alps. No other reports have mentioned further fatalities or injuries.
Local reports say the minibus was passing a parked vehicle on a narrow lane when it left the road and rolled down the slope.
Sieber’s brother is in hospital with severe injuries.
Sieber raced at 18 rounds of the World Cup, with his best result being seventh in the super combined in Bansk, Bulgaria, last year.
He won bronze in the Super-G at the 2008 junior world championships, and silver in the giant slalom a year later.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2223680/Bjorn-Sieber-dies-Austrian-world-cup-ski-champion-fatal-minibus-plunge.html#ixzz2ASe3j7u7
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook