Ski instructor accused of drugs is responsible for surgeon’s fatal fall in the Alps

Top surgeon William Choi fell 750 feet to death in skiing accident (Photo: SWNS / Getty)

Drug-addicted ski instructor blamed for the death of a top Cancer surgeon who fell 750 feet until his death while on vacation with his family.

Philippe Drigo was under the influence of cannabis when he agreed to transfer William Choi to an advanced group at the French alpine resort of La Plagne.

Mr Choi, 48, the chief urological surgeon for kidney cancer at the East Kent Hospitals Trust, had wanted to ski faster. Mr Drigo said he had “underestimated” his abilities and had moved him into a group.

But later in the day, the skiers ventured off-piste. A father of two, Mr. Choi lost his skis and hurtled down a steep hill.

The surgeon’s helmet came off when his head hit a rock and he continued down the hill.

Onlookers rushed to help Mr Choi, who was lying motionless at the end of the Losset corridor – a 35-degree slope recommended for “experienced” skiers.

But revival efforts failed, and he died of traumatic injuries to his neck and spine.

After the 2016 accident, the ski instructor was found guilty of manslaughter in France, according to an investigation in Maidstone.

Phillippe Drigo is a ski instructor at the French alpine resort of La Plagne (Photo: Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
Father of two William Choi had an ‘inadequate introduction to off-piste skiing’ (Photo: Kent & Canterbury Hospital / SWNS)

Mr Drigo told police he had not used drugs or alcohol, but was later discovered to be under the influence of cannabis.

A couple, Helen and Roger Hughes, had left Mr. Drigo’s group because they thought it was “too extreme” for them.

Ms Hughes said: “The accident could have been avoided.”

Deputy Coroner Sonia Hayes said Mr Choi had an “inadequate introduction to off-piste skiing”.

She agreed that her death was the result of gross negligence, although it was not revealed what punishment Mr. Drigo was facing.

Mr Choi – who had lost his wife, Debbie, to breast cancer 12 years ago – was on vacation with his two sons, Alex and Xavier, his partner Abbey and his daughter Phoebe.

Abbey called him “a lovely man who would help anyone,” adding: “It’s devastating, especially for the boys, whose mothers have passed away.”

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