PARIS, May 6, 2014 – As part of his regular courses at CELSA PARIS-SORBONNE (the name CELSA stands for “École des hautes études en sciences de l’information et de la communication”), Herbert Koch, Senior Consultant at de concert communication, presented two crisis communication studies. This presentation was given on May 5 and 6 as part of the master program “communication, tourism and culture”. After an introduction into the field of risk and crisis communication, Herbert gave an overview of a crisis-event in Lech and a catastrophe in Kaprun.

On February 17, 2012, an avalanche buried alive the Dutch prince Johan Friso, the second son of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. This crisis was managed in a very professionnal way both from a rescue and medical as well as from a communication point of view. The Dutch royal family has been coming to Lech, a famous winter resort spot (see above photo), since 1959. Although all rescue activities were put in place in the most timely way possible, Johan Friso never recovered from his accident. This tragedy did not undo the strong bounds that had been created between the royal family and the citizen and the community of Lech.

On November 11, 2000, a fire occurred in an ascending train in the tunnel of the funicular in the village of Kaprun, Austria. The disaster claimed the lives of 155 people, leaving only 12 survivors from the burning train. The victims were skiers on their way to the Kitzsteinhorn Glacier. This tragedy has become part of the history of Kaprun. 4 years after this tragic event, a memorial was inaugurated (see picture below).

Gedenkstätte Kaprun

The Memorial of Kaprun (photo by I. Menphrad)

For the survivors, relatives and friends of the victims and the citizen of Kaprun, the meetings, the selection and construction process of the Memorial was an important tool to cope with their grief. The animation of this process had been dealt with by an outside Vienna based PR-agency.


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