German canoe coach Henze dies from car-crash injuries

The coach of Germany's canoe slalom team, Stefan Henze, died from head injuries sustained in a car crash last week in Rio de Janeiro, the German Olympics team said on Monday.

This file picture shows Germany's Stefan Henze powering through the whitewater during the finals of the C2 Canoe Slalom Racing World Championships at Penrith Lakes near Sydney in 2005.   -  AFP

The coach of Germany's canoe slalom team, Stefan Henze, died from head injuries sustained in a car crash last week in Rio de Janeiro, the German Olympics team said on Monday.

Henze was travelling with a teammate in a taxi to the athletes' village early on Friday in the Barra de Tijuca neighbourhood when the car crashed into a concrete barrier. His teammate Christian Kaeding suffered minor injuries and was briefly treated in hospital before being released.

It was not yet clear how the accident occurred. “We are endlessly sad on this day,” said German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) President Alfons Hoermann in a statement. “Words cannot come close to describing how we in the Olympic team feel after this dreadful incident.”

The 35-year-old, a 2004 Olympic Games silver medallist, had undergone emergency surgery early on Friday and had been in intensive care ever since.

“Today, sports, for which the entire team came to Rio, moves into the background,” said team chief Michael Vesper. “Our thoughts are with his family who had the chance here to bid farewell.”

The German team said it will hold a ceremony on Tuesday at the Place of Mourning inside the Olympic Village where the athletes live and has asked the International Olympic Committee to fly all German flags in the venues at half staff.

7 hurt by falling Olympic camera

The Olympic Broadcasting Service now said seven people suffered minor injuries when a television camera it operates plummeted about 30 feet in the Olympic park.

The OBS said it dispatched workers to examine an issue with the pulling rope of the camera, which provides aerial views of the park. It said two guide ropes broke and sent the camera crashing down some 30 feet.

An eye witness said he saw the camera hit bystanders. Chris Adams said “it looked like a flying saucer coming through the air when it hit these two women.”

At least one of the women was taken to a hospital. OBS, which has operated cameras in Olympic parks and arenas since 2001, said it had launched an investigation into the matter.