Austrian World Cup ski racer Gernot Reinstadler died early today, hours after breaking his pelvis and suffering severe internal injuries in a high-speed crash near the finish line in a qualifying run for a downhill race at Wengen, Switzerland.
Surgeons at the hospital in the town of Interlaken, where Reinstadler, 20, was flown by helicopter, battled to save him but were unable to stop severe internal bleeding.
Despite repeated blood transfusions Reinstadler, who had yet to score any World Cup points, lost massive amounts of blood and never regained consciousness.
"His pelvis was broken in two," said Paul Gunther, a doctor at the hospital.
Reinstadler, watched by hundreds of spectators, had veered to the right of the course and caught one ski tip in the side netting, spinning out of control. He slid down the course for about 25 yards, leaving a long trail of blood in the snow.