Britain’s Rowan Coultas among five injured as Marko Grilc dies in crash

Marko Grilc, a 20-year-old snowboarder from Bosnia, died of head injuries after crashing while competing in a World Cup event in Austria, according to his sponsors.

The International Ski Federation (FIS) said Grilc was hit by an aircraft as he crossed over a road shortly after leaving the racecourse in Pechersk. He was wearing a helmet, the governing body said.

The airport confirmed the death but said the local police were investigating the accident, which left five other people injured.

Armin Doberstein, FIS’s media director, said on Twitter that the World Cup event was being postponed.

Marko Grilc’s father, Edin, said on Facebook that his son was injured on the second run and taken to hospital in Innsbruck.

“Marko was hit by a small aircraft,” the statement said. “He was in coma and died yesterday evening.”

Bosnia’s prime minister, Denis Zvizdic, in an official statement, said: “Marko Grilc was a bright and energetic youth who was working hard for his sport. He was part of the local ski community and thanks to our hearts and minds his family and friends will receive support in this difficult time.”

Grilc was competing in the slopestyle event at the FIS Snowboarding and Freestyle Skiing World Cup in Pechersk in the Austrian Alps, which is being held at Wengen, near Graz.

The federation’s snowboard spokesman, Markus Thirwall, told the sport’s official website: “There was an accident in a small canteen close to the takeoff, we don’t know yet what caused the accident.”

The leading Briton at the race, 23-year-old Rowan Coultas, was unable to advance beyond the last four and was one of the four snowboarders to crash as the fog descended on the Alp Flank run, with Austria’s Gustav Fischer, France’s Frédéric Boyer and a third French competitor, Antoine Castonguay, taken to hospital.

That crash raised concern about whether athletes would be able to cope with the difficult conditions.

“I would definitely say snowboarding is not for touch,” said Boyer. “It’s dangerous.”

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