Deadly Collision: German Politician in Coma after Ski Accident

Dieter Althaus, the governor of the eastern German state of Thuringia, was rushed to the hospital with a fractured skull on Thursday after a skiing accident. The woman he collided with died on the way to the hospital.

A leading politician from German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union party was to be slowly brought out of an artificially induced coma on Friday following treatment for head injuries suffered during a ski accident.

Thuringia Governor Dieter Althaus is in a coma after a serious skiing accident.

Thuringia Governor Dieter Althaus is in a coma after a serious skiing accident.

Dieter Althaus, the 50-year-old governor of the eastern German state of Thuringia, collided with a 41-year-old Slovakian woman while skiing at the Riesneralm ski area in south-eastern Austria on Thursday. Both were immediately flown to the hospital by helicopter. The Slovakian woman, who lived in the US, died on the way.

Althaus was placed in an artificially induced coma due to a serious skull fracture sustained in the accident. His doctors said that he is out of danger. A hospital spokesman said on Friday that it was too early to know whether Althaus had suffered any long-term injuries.

Merkel spokesman Thomas Steg said the chancellor was "deeply moved and shocked" by the incident. Althaus is considered to be a close ally of Merkel's. He faces Thuringia state elections in August, just a month before German general elections.

The exact causes of the accident have yet to be determined. There were no witnesses and doctors say that Althaus is unlikely to be able to remember what happened once he awakes. He was reportedly wearing a helmet at the time of the accident while the Slovakian woman was not.

cgh -- with wire reports

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