Matthias Lanzinger is evacuated by paramedics
after his accident [AFP] 
Austrian skier Matthias Lanzinger had his lower left leg amputated due to complications after breaking his shinbone and fibula at a crash in Sunday's World Cup super-G in Norway.

The double fracture severely damaged blood vessels which hampered blood circulation in the leg of the 27-year-old Lanzinger.

The Austrian ski federation said surgery at a hospital in Oslo was only partly successful and left doctors no other option than an amputation to avoid further health risks.

"The blood circulation in the foot was re-established but due to the long time of ischemia, the circulation could not be stabilized,'' said doctor Thomas Hoelzenbein, who was flown in from Austria to lead the operation.

Organisers of the race in Kvitfjell, Norway, were criticised as there was no medical helicopter available at the event Sunday.

Lanzinger was flown to a hospital in Lillehammer with a tourist helicopter, and was later brought to Oslo.

"The lacking safety measures at these races are shocking,'' Austrian Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer said.

"I can't understand how a World Cup race could be organised at such a low safety level.''

Austrian sports secretary Reinhold Lopatka said the accident showed the importance of immediate medical care being available at races.

"Organisers who fail here, should be held liable,'' Lopatka said.

Austrian ski federation president Peter Schroecksnadel said it was too early to apportion blame.

"We won't take any steps until we exactly know all the circumstances,'' Schroecksnadel said.

Hans Plum, 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,'' Plum said.

Lanzinger, who started 30th, crashed near the finish after hitting a gate.

The race, won by his 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, Colorado, in December 2005.

Source: Agencies