Marseille, France, July 17 2000 – A 12-year-old boy who was struck by a car travelling with the Tour de France caravan died yesterday.
The tragic accident happened on Friday’s 13th stage, from Avignon to Draguignan, when the car ran into the youngster, a race spectator, at Ginasservis, 117km out from the start, causing head, thigh and hip injuries.
The boy was knocked unconscious and was rushed to hospital in Marseille by helicopter. His mother fainted in shock.
He died of his injuries early yesterday evening, the hospital said.
It was the first fatal accident of this type in the Tour since 1988 when a child was killed in a car accident in Limoges. The last victim in the Tour was Fabio Casartelli’s death in 1995.
Tour de France director, Jean-Marie Leblanc spoke of his grief at the tragic accident, “The fun is over in this Tour,” he said. “It must not happen that a boy or girl should die during a sporting event. But we are a little town with 3500 people travelling through France for 23 days. Then, anything can happen. We have to do everything possible to prevent accidents.”
As a mark of respect, there will be one minute’s silence before the start of stage 16 in Courchevel tomorrow.