Innsbruck, Austria, Oct. 30, 2001 (AP)–French skier Regine Cavagnoud remained in “life-threatening” condition with head and brain injuries today, the day after she crashed into a German coach during training.
The coach, Markus Anwander, also was on a respirator but was not injured quite as badly as the 31-year-old super-G World Cup champion.
“The situation with Regine is at the moment very serious,” said Dr. Wolfgang Koller, the head of the trauma intensive care unit at Innsbruck University Clinic. “At the moment, it is life-threatening and this is the status since the accident. We have to make a lot of examinations today to see how the situation develops in the next hours and days.”
Cavagnoud underwent surgery after the crash, which German and French ski officials said was caused by communication problems between their teams. The Austrian prosecutor’s office has begun an investigation.
German ski officials said there was no joint radio frequency that would have enabled the two teams to be in direct contact.
“Unfortunate circumstances added up here,” said Wolfgang Maier, the chief trainer of the German women’s team.
Ski officials said Cavagnoud crashed headfirst into Anwander as he crossed her path on the Pitztal glacier. Both were taken by helicopter to the hospital in Innsbruck.
Several national ski teams are training in Austria at the start of the World Cup season.
In addition to winning the super-G World Cup, Cavagnoud was third overall in the World Cup standings last season and has long been a strong competitor in the downhill and giant slalom.
Her career has been plagued by injuries. She finally won a race in her 10th year of competition, a downhill in January 1999. That broke a 17-year drought by French women in the speed discipline.
On Sunday, she finished third after a brilliant second run in the season’s opening World Cup in Soelden.