A Japanese snowboarder has suffered a shocking crash in the finals of the men’s halfpipe competition at the Winter Games in South Korea.
Sixteen-year-old Yuto Totsuka was carried from the scene on a stretcher after he was seen landing a wrinkled heap following the fall on the course. Commentators described the accident as one of the worst they’ve ever seen in the competition.
Totsuka had just begun his second of three runs and appeared to be trying a complex trick when tragedy struck.
The accident comes after many athletes have spoken about the dangerous, windy conditions in Pyeongchang. Event organisers have been criticized for continuing the competition in spite of the conditions.
In the horrifying footage Totsuka can be seen bouncing off the lip of the frozen halfpipe before falling 22-feet down the ramp onto the solid surface below, where his body lies lifeless until medics arrive at the scene.
Thankfully, in spite of how shocking the fall looked, a press officer from Team Japan has allegedly said Totsuka managed to escape with only minor hip damage.
A number of athletes have spoken out about the ‘crash-filled’ events.
Scary scene at the halfpipe. Medics tending to Japan’s Yuto Totsuka, who bounded off the lip and fell all the way down the pipe face-first. He was moving, but getting dragged off on a stretcher.
— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) February 14, 2018
Japan’s press officer says Yuto Totsuka has “no big injury”but pain in his hip and was transported to the hospital.
— Rachel Axon (@RachelAxon) February 14, 2018
Earlier this week, during the women’s event, Brit Aimee Fuller suffered a heavy crash on her second run. Enni Rukajarvi, who picked up bronze, said: “It was pretty bad. I’m happy to land my run and get a good score but I’m most happy that no one got hurt bad.”
Rukajarvi added that she believed the event should have been moved: “It wasn’t [the right decision]. It was better in the practice, but then it got really bad, so they should have cancelled it, or moved it.”
Anna Gasser from Austria, mirrored her comments, saying: “I don’t think it was a fair competition and I’m a little disappointed in the organisation that they pulled through with it.
“I think it was not a good show for women’s snowboarding.”