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School sets up tribute page to ski trip death girl Poonam Bhattal

Monday, February 25, 2013
10:24 AM

The school attended by 13-year-old Poonam Bhattal, who died while on a ski trip, has set up a remembrance page.

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Poonam reportedly fell from a ski lift while on a school trip in the Alps resort of Claviere in Italy.

She was with fellow students from the Guru Nanak Sikh Academy in Hayes.

The school has put a message on its homepage asking for tributes to Poonam, which will be posted on a remembrance page.

On the page it says: “Following the tragic accident that resulted in the death of this lovely, popular and bright young student, we have created a web page in order to allow her relatives, friends and the wider community to post tribute messages.

“We can all celebrate her life and remember the joy that she brought into our lives. She will remain vividly in our memories and our thoughts are with her and her family at this difficult time.”

Although Poonam, reported to be from Slough, initially survived the fall, she died while on her way to a hospital 25 miles away in Susa, according to Sky News.

An investigation has started into the incident.

Friends of the teenager took to Twitter at the weekend to pay tribute to her.

User @pavan_kaur96 wrote: “R.I.P Poonam Bhattal <3 Prayers go out to all your family and friends. You may be gone but u will never forgotten x.”

Another, @jaskiretxo, wrote: “Poonam Bhattal a beautiful girl who we were all so lucky to have known, may our thoughts be with Amreeta and her family. RIP beautiful xox”.

Speaking to BBC Radio Berkshire on Saturday the director of the ski school at the resort said the safety bar on the lift was down when the girl fell.

Marco Steffanini told the radio station: “Now there is an investigation in progress to understand how she can fall down with the safety bar closed.”

He also said she fell down “standing up”.

Mr Steffanini added: “Before she fell down she was grabbing for the safety bar and the men [operating] the lift saw this, stopped the lift... but it was too late.”

Rajinder Singh Sandhu, principal of Guru Nanak Sikh Academy, broke the news of the teenager’s death to her family.

In a statement, he said the half-term excursion was led by the vice principal of the school with the help of two assistant head teachers and “a massively experienced team of eight staff”.

The statement said: “The leader of this trip and everyone associated with it is devastated by the death of an absolutely lovely student.

“The vice principal leading the trip has vast experience - having led 28 of such trips throughout his teaching career. He is obsessive about safety and security on these trips.

“It would be inappropriate for the school to comment further - given that there must be no prejudice to the very thorough investigation that will take place by Italian authorities.

He added that the school is “doing everything possible to support the family in any way possible”.

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