LEYSIN, Switzerland (AP) – Swiss snowboarder Daniel Loetscher was killed Friday when he crashed into a pillar during an international competition.
Loetscher, 25, lost his balance at the end of the parallel giant slalom,part of the International Snowboarding Federation’s World Series.
He smashed full speed into a pillar marking the finish line and waspronounced dead at the scene after attempts to revive him failed, policesaid. Loetscher was wearing protective headgear.
Renaud de Watteville, vice-chairman of the organizing committee, said Loetscher had a broken neck.
Christian Heller, president of the Swiss Snowboarding Federation, believes it was the first fatal accident during competition.
ISF president Bertrand Denervaud said the federation would investigate the cause of the accident and try to make the sport safer.
“But the ISF family has lost a brother,” Denervaud said. “We are sad and shocked and must first come to terms with what has happened. Loetscher was 21st overall in the season-long competition.
A computer programmer for Swiss national railways, he turned semi-pro in 1998 and joined snowboarding’s Swiss Team this season. His best World Series result was sixth at a giant slalom at Davos at the end of last season. He competed in snowboard and the Alpine disciplines.
Friday’s and Saturday’s competitions were canceled.
A memorial ceremony will be held on the course Saturday. The event ends Sunday.