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Dutch Prince Johan Friso rescued from avalanche, seriously injured

Dutch Prince Johan Friso stands with Princess Mabel and Princess Marilene during the traditional Queens Day celebratons on April 29, 2006 in Almere, The Netherlands. Michel Porro/Getty

(CBS/AP) Dutch Prince Johan Friso, the second son of Queen Beatrix, has been transferred to a hospital after being rescued from under an avalanche in Western Austria. After the accident, he was in critical but stable condition, a government official said, according to reports.

Prince Johan was pulled out by rescue crews after spending a reported 15 minutes under the snow while he was skiing in the Austrian alps, police said, according to some reports.

Pictures: Prince Johan Friso

It was unclear how critical the condition of Prince Friso was.

The Dutch government, which initially said his life was in danger later issued an update saying "his condition is stable but not out of danger." Stefan Jochum, a spokesman for the Lech ski area where the accident occurred, said Friso's condition was serious but his life was no longer at risk.

"Her Majesty the Queen and (Friso's wife) Princess Mabel are with Prince Friso," the Dutch statement said, adding that "doctors treating him will only be able to give a prognosis in a matter of days."

Stefan Jochum, a spokesman for the Lech ski area where the accident occurred, said Friso's condition was serious but his life was no longer in danger.

Jochum said the accident happened Friday afternoon as the prince and other skiers were on slopes away from the marked Lech ski runs and laden with snow after weeks of record falls.

"A snow slide came down and the prince was buried as the only member of the group," said Jochum in a telephone interview. A rescue helicopter was on the scene within minutes and after Frisowas located, he was given emergency aid on the scene and flown to the hospital, Jochum said.

He could not confirm a news report that the prince had been buried for 15 minutes before he was found and said he had no information on the nature of his injuries.

Friso, 43, was in Lech along with other members of the royal family. Friso, the second of Beatrix's three sons, gave up any claim to the Dutch throne in order to marry Dutch commoner Mabel Wisse Smit, in 2004. The pair have two daughters, Emma and Joanna.

The crucial moment in his life as a member of the Dutch nobility came with his 2003 engagement to then-commoner Wisse Smit.

After the pair announced their intention to marry in 2003, Dutch media revealed that Wisse Smit's previous friendships included contacts while she was in college with a well-known figure in the Dutch underworld, a drug dealer who was later slain.

The couple publicly acknowledged having been "naive and incomplete" during her vetting process before joining the royal family. Then-Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende signaled he could not recommend the marriage to parliament for approval.

They married anyway, a decision that meant Friso's removal from the line of succession.

The couple are still part of Beatrix's family and attend important royal functions. Mabel has been granted the title "Princess Mabel" and Friso has an array of noble titles, including "Prince of Oranje-Nassau" - but not "Prince of the Netherlands."