A man with family links to the island has died in a helicopter crash in the Swiss Alps.

James Davis-Goff, of Glen Helen, was one of three people who died when the helicopter they were travelling in was caught in an avalanche on the slopes of Petit Combin mountain on April 2.

The 34-year-old qualified ski instructor was a former United Nations project development officer. The Air Glaciers helicopter was taking a mountain guide and four visitors to a drop-off point for skiers at around 9.25am local time when the tragedy occurred.

Police said the the chopper crashed at the mountain-top landing site and slide down the northern slope.

The pilot and tour guide also died.

Three others were injured.

According to newspaper reports, a passenger in their 60s managed to push two brothers out of the helicopter and jump, but was unable to save James.

He broke several bones after landing 100ft down a crevasse where he lay injured for five hours before being located by a tracking device.

‘I thought my time was up.’ He said.

He said James’s father was in the second rotation waiting to go up after their party and so would have seen the horrific events unfold.

The Swiss Safety Investigation Service has opened an investigation into the cause of the incident.

In a statement, the Valais canton police said: ‘On Tuesday, April 2, a helicopter crashed on the Petit Combin. Three people were killed and three injured. ‘Around 9.25am, the B3-type helicopter crashed at the Petit Combin mountain landing site during a heli-ski drop-off.

‘Having reached the summit of this mountain, culminating at an altitude of 3,668 metres, for a reason the investigation will have to determine, the aircraft slid down the northern slope.

‘Seven helicopters from Air-Glaciers, Air Zermatt and REGA converged on the site.

‘In addition to the pilot, the helicopter was occupied by a mountain guide and his four clients. Two injured people were quickly treated before being airlifted to Sion hospital. A third person was later rescued.

‘The other three occupants were unfortunately found dead.

‘The Swiss Security Investigation Service (SESE) has opened an investigation.’

Mr Davis-Goff's parents Robert and Sheelagh own the Ballinacor Estate near Rathdrum in Co Wicklow and live between there and the Isle of Man.

Their son had previously interned for the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs in San Francisco, United States.

His sister Sarah is the co-founder of a Dublin publishing company.

A memorial service will be held in Co Wicklow this summer.

Helicopter owner Air-Glaciers said in a statement: ‘We are deeply saddened and indescribably touched by this event, and our thoughts are with the families and loved ones of the victims.’ A skier who arrive at the summit shortly after the accident told media: ‘We landed after them on the south side of Petit Combin and saw the avalanche. It was horrific.’