Girl injured in Whistler luging accident
Officials say the girl is in stable condition and responding to her mother
A young girl is in stable condition after crashing during a luge training run on the track at the Whistler Sliding Centre on Wednesday evening.
Chris Dornan, the spokesman for the Canadian Luge Association, said the girl was airlifted from Squamish to Vancouver Children's Hospital.
She is now in stable condition and responding to doctors and her mother, said Dornan on Thursday morning.
The accident occurred on the same luge track that was the scene of a deadly accident involving Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili. He flew off the track and into a structural post during a training run just before the opening of the 2010 Olympics. Some experts blamed the design of the track for the incident.
Dornan said the injured luger is a novice-level athlete with B.C. Luge, which means he or she would be under age 13.
Patricia Leslie, a director with Whistler Athletes' Centre, confirmed the girl was taking part in a regular training run with the B.C. Luge Association when she was injured sometime between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. PT Wednesday.
Leslie said girl was on a lower section of the track travelling at low speeds through a corner near the end of the run when the child crashed.
Dornan said the starting position for the novice lugers would be between corners 12 and 13 on the run, and that the crash happened at corner 14.
Crashes a 'reality of the sport'
Speaking on Wednesday evening, Dornan called the injury "an unfortunate incident."
"The reality is that crashes happen on tracks around the world. That is the reality of the sport." Dornan said. "Our priority [now] is the athlete's health."
Leslie said her organization would be investigating Wednesday's incident "to understand why is happened and how to make it better.
"These kinds of accidents are quite common for athletes learning to luge," she said. "I know that the sliding association takes it very seriously and so does the Whistler Sliding Centre because, of course, our No. 1 priority is safety."