Ten-strong British team compete in Ski Club of International Journalists competition - Press Gazette

Ten-strong British team compete in Ski Club of International Journalists competition

Ex-Fleet Street writer Gill Swain was involved in a mountain rescue while skiing at the 63rd annual meeting of the Ski Club of International Journalists in the northern Italian resort of Sestriere.

The drama unfolded when Swain fell badly and broke two bones in her right leg as she skied with travel writer Gill Martin, captain of the ten-strong GB team competing against 190 journalists from 32 countries.

Four other companions kicked off their skis to form crosses to indicate an emergency while telephoning the mountain rescue service.

Former Fleet Street feature writer and woman's editor Martin said: "It was snowing and visibility was poor when Gill fell on a turn.  A ski binding failed to release and she broke two bones just above the ankle. The pain kicked in when she tried to stand but she was pretty stoic.

"Two of us formed a windbreak around her to keep her warm as we waited for help.  We were skiing with two journalists who'd trained as ski instructors, from Northern Ireland and Eire, so felt in good hands.

'Two mountain rescue guys arrived within 20 minutes, splinted her leg and lifted her onto the metal 'blood wagon' for the ski descent, than an ambulance ride to the trauma clinic for x-ray and plaster cast.'

The accident meant Swain, freelance writer and editor of Palestine News, could not compete in the Giant Slalom and Cross Country races.

She said: 'Luckily I was not in much pain and the Italian rescue team and medics treated me with great efficiency and kindness.

"Sestriere is a wonderful resort in the heart of the Milky Way and for the rest of the week it was very hard to have to watch my team mates go off to enjoy fabulous days of great snow and blazing sunshine while I was stuck in the hotel with my plaster cast and crutches. But I am determined to recover my full strength and to be back on skis next year."

Team GB included Michael Prowse, former-Times night editor, Times sub Sam Thomson, FT sub Janet Dillon, Tatler Hong Kong managing editor Jakki Phillips, freelance journalist Lucie Emerson,  founder of YOPEY media charity Tony Gearing, Belfast multimedia picture editor Michael Cousins and BBC World Service multimedia editor Nikolay Voronin.

Russian-born Voronin embodies the founding principle of SCIJ, launched during the Cold War to bring together journalists from the East and West, as he becomes a naturalised Briton this month.