Austrian skier Lanzinger has lower leg amputated after World Cup crash
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.”
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 on 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.