Track worker crushed to death by crane after Canadian Grand Prix race

MONTREAL – A race-track worker at the Canadian Grand Prix was killed Sunday after being crushed by a crane shortly after the Formula One race ended.

The Grand Prix’s promoter said the man was escorting the crane as it moved a Sauber car that had gone off the track during the Montreal race.

“The worker was helping to recover a car, which had stopped during the race,” Matteo Bonciani, F1’s head spokesman, said as he read a statement to reporters at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

“The recovery vehicle had lifted the car to return it to the pits and while doing this the worker dropped his radio and attempted to pick it up. As he did this, he stumbled and was hit and run over by the recovery vehicle.”

The man was airlifted to hospital by helicopter after being stabilized by race-track trauma nurses.

“Unfortunately, the worker succumbed to his injuries at the hospital,” said Bonciani, adding that organizers wanted “to communicate their deepest condolences to the family and friends of the victim.”

Officials said they would not immediately release the identity of the victim.

Earlier Sunday, the Grand Prix’s promoter said the crane operator couldn’t see the man when he hit him.

“Unfortunately, the vehicle’s wheel passed over his body,” Francois Dumontier said before the man died in hospital.

The event’s chief medical officer said a physician, who happened to be nearby when the accident occurred, rushed to the injured worker. The man was still conscious when the doctor arrived at his side, he added.

“He went there within 30 seconds (and) started stabilizing him,” said Jacques Bouchard.

He said trauma workers at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve treated the employee enough to have him airlifted to hospital by helicopter.

Bouchard said the employee, about 38 years old, had been working at the track for 10 years.

He said the man was walking with the crane to help stabilize the Sauber car.