Skier Riesch suffers nasty fall during downhill training

German skier Maria Riesch, currently second in the women's World Cup overall standings, suffered a nasty fall during a training run for the downhill event at the World Ski Championships in France on Wednesday.

Skier Riesch suffers nasty fall during downhill training
Photo: DPA

German women’s speed coach Mathias Berthold said Riesch had brusing to the face and spine, and most likely damage to the anterior ligament of her left knee.

Slalom specialist Riesch, who was due to take part in the super-combined in Val d’isere on Friday, returned to her hotel on foot before being driven to hospital for further tests after an initial examination by German team doctor Wolfgang Vogt.

“We don’t know exactly what the consequences of her fall will be for her carrying on in competition,” said Berthold. “But I think there won’t be any problem with her taking part. A great champion must show character in these cases and know how to overcome this type of problem.”

Back on the slope, Swiss teenager Lara Gut clocked 1min 30.41sec over the 2,135-metre-long Rhone Alpes piste, which has a vertical drop of 691 metres. Briton Chemmy Alcott was initially given a time 0.20sec faster but was later disqualified.

Fancied Italian Nadia Fanchini was second fastest, with Austrian Andrea Fischbacher, bronze medallist in the women’s Super-G on Tuesday, in third and Super-G silver medallist Marie Marchand-Arvier in fourth.

All downhill racers must race at least one of the three training runs to be eligible for either the super-combined, on Friday, or Saturday’s downhill.

American Lindsey Vonn, a big favourite for the speed event especially after picking up the Super-G crown, ranked 39th out of 60 runners with a time of 1:37.71, 7.3sec off Gut’s time.

Experienced Swede Anja Paerson, who will be seeking to bounce back from her disappointment at crashing out of the Super-G, posted 1:32.81 for a 19th place. The second training run takes place on Thursday and the third and final on Saturday.


German tourists among 13 dead in Italy cable car accident

Thirteen people, including German tourists, have been killed after a cable car disconnected and fell near the summit of the Mottarone mountain near Lake Maggiore in northern Italy.

German tourists among 13 dead in Italy cable car accident
The local emergency services published this photograph of the wreckage. Photo: Vigili del Fuoco

The accident was announced by Italy’s national fire and rescue service, Vigili del Fuoco, at 13.50 on Sunday, with the agency saying over Twitter that a helicopter from the nearby town of Varese was on the scene. 

Italy’s National Alpine and Speleological Rescue Corps confirmed that there were 13 victims and two seriously injured people.

Italian daily Corriere della Sera reported that German tourists were among the 13 victims.

According to their report, there were 15 passengers inside the car — which can hold 35 people — at the time a cable snapped, sending it tumbling into the forest below. Two seriously injured children, aged nine and five, were airlifted to hospital in Turin. 

The cable car takes tourists and locals from Stresa, a resort town on Lake Maggiore up to a panoramic peak on the Mottarone mountain, reaching some 1,500m above sea level. 

According to the newspaper, the car had been on its way from the lake to the mountain when the accident happened, with rescue operations complicated by the remote forest location where the car landed. 

The cable car had reopened on April 24th after the end of the second lockdown, and had undergone extensive renovations and refurbishments in 2016, which involved the cable undergoing magnetic particle inspection (MPI) to search for any defects. 

Prime Minister Mario Draghi said on Twitter that he expressed his “condolences to the families of the victims, with special thoughts for the seriously injured children and their families”.

Infrastructure Minister Enrico Giovannini told Italy’s Tg1 a commission of inquiry would be established, according to Corriere della Sera: “Our thoughts go out to those involved. The Ministry has initiated procedures to set up a commission and initiate checks on the controls carried out on the infrastructure.”

“Tomorrow morning I will be in Stresa on Lake Maggiore to meet the prefect and other authorities to decide what to do,” he said.