Serious bobsleigh accidents: Lochner worries about taking part in the World Cup

The opening training for the Bobsleigh World Cup in Altenberg was overshadowed by two serious falls. Two-man bobsleigh world champion Johannes Lochner from Berchtesgaden crashed in the four-man bobsleigh in curve section 13/14, as did Swiss pilot Michael Vogt. “We are currently clarifying whether something has happened to Hansi’s cervical vertebra area,” said head coach René Spies on Wednesday. There was a slight all-clear for pusher Erec Bruckert, who was thrown out of the vehicle. He was then driven to the hospital for an examination, where he had to spend the night.

World Cup co-favorite Lochner has to miss the World Cup this weekend. “Now we have to see whether it’s enough for the World Cup in Winterberg,” said Spies. The title fights in Hochsauerland start next week.

To the hospital by helicopter

The Swiss bobsleigh had it even worse in this difficult passage. Vogt’s pusher Sandro Michel was also thrown from the bobsleigh. After the fall, the 210 kilogram sled slid back down the track from the uphill finish line and hit the Swiss, who was lying dazed on the ice, with full force. In such a situation, a four-man bobsleigh can reach a speed of around 50 to 60 kilometers per hour.

Experienced and successful duo: Sandro Michel (l.) and Michael Vogt: Image: EPA

Michel was seriously injured. The 27-year-old had to be flown by helicopter to the hospital in Dresden. As the Swiss Sliding Association announced on Wednesday, the athlete sustained injuries to his chest, pelvis and thigh area that required surgery. He was said to be stable now. Pilot Vogt suffered a severe concussion and bruises. He also had to spend the night in the hospital. The other two pushers, Dominik Hufschmid and Andreas Haas, escaped with minor injuries.

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Michel and Vogt took 4th place in the two-man bobsleigh behind three German bobsleighs at the 2022 Olympic Games and won bronze in the 2023 World Championships. It wasn’t until the beginning of February that the two of them won silver in the European Championships in Sigulda. Swiss Sliding gave the other Swiss teams in Altenberg the choice of whether or not they wanted to take part in further training and the races on the weekend. An investigation into the accident was initiated on the railway in Altenberg.


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