Families heading off to ski resorts at half term warned of the risks of CO poisoning

Safer Tourism Foundation Stresses the Importance of Carbon Monoxide Detectors for Travellers

The recent case of a British family of nine, who were poisoned by carbon monoxide gas at a five-star French ski resort, has once again raised the issue of carbon monoxide and its potentially lethal impact on anyone who inhales it.

Three generations of the Elliott family, from Wiltshire, were staying at a chalet in the French Alps resort of La Plagne Soleil.  All nine were given emergency oxygen and rushed to hospital but thankfully they survived. Media reports say they are still suffering ongoing side effects, including sickness and memory loss. These reports have described how the cause in this instance was allegedly due to a ‘snow-blocked air intake flue’ following an increase in snowfall in the Alps.

Kathy Atkinson, CEO of the Safer Tourism Foundation, said: ‘This case is far from unique.  It is clearly disturbing, and is subject to legal proceedings, and as such we will not comment on the details of it.

‘However, with thousands of families from the UK heading off to cold destinations for the half-term holidays, often on ski-ing holidays, there is an urgent need for effective, fully-functioning carbon monoxide detectors in all holiday accommodation with fuel burning appliances such as wood burning stoves.

‘We would expect holiday companies and accommodation owners to provide monitors where there is a possible risk of carbon monoxide being present, but if anyone is worried there may not be one where they are staying they can buy a portable battery-operated carbon monoxide detector to take away for less than £15. It is also worth them asking their accommodation provider about this before travelling.

‘Anyone buying a detector should ensure it meets the British Standard EN50291 and they should familiarise themselves with how to use the detector, such as where to position it. It is worth all travellers taking this easy and inexpensive extra step to provide additional reassurance and peace of mind. Don’t take any risks when it comes to your and your family’s health.’


The Safer Tourism Foundation is a registered charity which aims to reduce the number of preventable deaths, injuries and illnesses occurring to people travelling abroad. It was established in 2016, ten years after the deaths of two children, Bobby and Christi Shepherd, who died from carbon monoxide poisoning whilst on holiday in Corfu in 2006. Bobby and Christi’s mother, Sharon Wood, was instrumental in the formation of the Safer Tourism Foundation and is a trustee.

See information on typical carbon monoxide warning signs below:

Carbon Monoxide

Alan Oliver, Safer Tourism Foundation

Alan Oliver, Safer Tourism Foundation

Published on 08/02/18

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