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Austrian skier’s leg amputated after crash

The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
** FILE ** Austrian alpine skier Matthias Lanzinger is taken from the course after crashing during during the World Cup super-G in Kvitfjell, central Norway in this Sunday March 2, 2008 file photo. Lanzinger will have his lower leg amputated due to complications after breaking his shinbone and fibula at a crash in Sunday's super-G race. (AP Photo/Knut Falch, Scanpix, File) ** NORWAY OUT **
AP | SCANPIX NORWAY

OSLO, Norway ” Austrian skier Matthias Lanzinger’s lower left leg was amputated Tuesday because of complications from two broken bones in a crash at a World Cup race.

Lanzinger broke his shin and fibula Sunday during a super G. The double fracture severely damaged blood vessels, hampering circulation in the 27-year-old skier’s leg.

The Austrian ski federation said the surgery Monday night was only partly successful and left doctors no other option in an effort to avoid further risks.



“The circulation could not be stabilized,” said doctor Thomas Hoelzenbein, who was flown in from Austria Monday to lead the operation.

Organizers of the race in Kvitfjell, Norway, were criticized because no medical helicopter was available. Lanzinger was flown to a hospital in Lillehammer in a tourist helicopter, and later was brought to Oslo.




“The lacking safety measures at these races are shocking,” Austrian Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer told the Austria Presse Agency on Tuesday. “I can’t understand how a World Cup race could be organized at such a low safety level.”

FIS general secretary Sarah Lewis said World Cup events are the responsibility of the hosting national federation.

“The race would not have gone ahead and started if it had not satisfied all the safety requirements in terms of netting, course setting and visibility,” she said. “Medical supervision is the responsibility of the Norwegian organizing committee.

“Kvitfjell is a very reliable venue in terms of staging competitions … it is close to a hospital and relatively close to the capital city.”

Austrian ski federation president Peter Schroecksnadel said it was too early to apportion blame. Hans Pum, the federation’s Alpine director, called for a discussion of safety at the World Cup circuit.

“We should clear this case soon and bring all relevant parties together to discuss speed, equipment and course preparation, as the safety and the health of the athletes come first,” Pum said.

Lanzinger, who started 30th, crashed near the finish after hitting a gate. The race, won by teammate Georg Streitberger, was interrupted for more than 30 minutes.

Lanzinger’s career best World Cup result was third at a super G in Beaver Creek, Colo., in December 2005.

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