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Associated Press
FILE - This Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2008 file photo shows Dutch Prince Johan Friso, left, and his wife Mabel, right, as they arrive for a gala dinner in honor of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Martti Ahtisaari, former President of Finland, at the Grand Hotel in Oslo.

Doctors: Dutch prince suffered brain damage

AMSTERDAM (AP) — A Dutch prince struck by an avalanche while skiing off-trail in Austria last week suffered massive brain damage and he may never regain consciousness, doctors said Friday.

Johan Friso, 43, is the second son of the Netherlands' Queen Beatrix.

Dr. Wolfgang Koller, head of trauma at the Innsbruck hospital where Friso is being treated, said at a news conference broadcast live on Dutch national television that it took nearly 50 minutes to reanimate the prince after he was pulled from the snow.

"It is clear that the oxygen starvation has caused massive brain damage to the patient," he said. "At the moment, it cannot be predicted if he will ever regain consciousness."

Friso, who is married and has two young daughters, will be moved at a later date to a private rehabilitation clinic for further treatment. But Koller cautioned that it may take years before he awakens from his coma, if he ever does.

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