Zoricic family reacts to police report on Nik's deathTweet
The Canadian Broadcasting Company’s news program The Fifth Estate, has gotten a hold of the still not publicly released report of the police investigation of the death of Canadian skicross athlete Nik Zoricic in a World Cup competition at Grindelwald, Switzerland ten months ago. The Zoricic family is not happy about the conclusions drawn.
According to Swiss police the death was a “sporting accident” and was not due to any flaw(s) in the Grindelwald course. The Zoricic’s maintain there is widespread belief among Nic’s skicross compatriots that his death would have been prevented had attention been paid to competitor complaints about the course.
Zoricic flew wide right off the final jump of the course, just above the finish line, landed well off course landing on ungroomed snow, bounced off the safety netting and pinwheeled into a frozen bank of snow. He was airlifted to Interlaken hospital where he was pronounced dead of “severe neurotrauma.” The family demanded an investigation.
“It is unacceptable that an elite athlete like Nic Zoricic can make a perfect landing, barely miss the finish line by one meter and be killed for it,” family attorney Tim Danson said a month after the crash.
The police report, translated from German, concluded the event was “a tragic case of sporting accident with fatal outcome. … causation by a third party can be excluded.”
Silvia Zoricic, mother of the deceased, told The Fifth Estate, “I don’t understand how that report can conclude something like that when the whole world, the ski world, is saying that this was absolutely avoidable.”
The Fifth Estate reports the police questioned ten witnesses but only two of approximately 90 participants. Canadian team veteran Dave Duncan said the situation was “almost a death trap. If it wasn’t Nik, it was probably going to happen in the heat after that, or the heat after that. It was a matter of time.”
There was no explanation in the report as to why the safety fencing didn’t absorb the fall, or why it was considered acceptable to have a snowbank inside the fencing. The narrow landing area was not addressed, either.
Danson told the news program: “If you had a normal finish line, Nik would be alive. If it was groomed between the finish line post and the fence, he’d be alive,” Danson said. “If you had proper fencing, he’d be alive. Every single one of these things was wrong. This isn’t just incompetence, this is extreme, extreme incompetence and negligence.”
The Zoricic family is determined to bring additional safety to the sport and has no plans to bring a lawsuit or otherwise gain financially. FIS has not acknowledged there were any flaws in the course either in design or execution.
“Nothing is going to bring Nik back,” said Danson, “but denying anything wrong happened here, that’s insult to Nik and we’re just not going to allow it.”