Gloves come off in Zoricic skicross death case
The Zoricic family has stopped playing. On Wednesday (March 6) they set a June 15 deadline and told skiing's governing bodies they may be sued unless they open their own investigations of the death of Nik Zoricic in a World Cup skicross event in Switzerland a year ago.
Zoricic's father Bebe called the Swiss police investigation “a whitewash,” and family lawyer Tim Danson said it was “either the most incompetent police investigation I have ever seen in over 32 years of practice or it was intended to protect powerful interests in Switzerland.”
The full report has not been officially released and Swiss officials say the investigation is “in its closing phase.”
Zoricic was fatally injured when he flew wide off the final jump of a skicross course in Grindelwald last March 10 and sustained head injuries bouncing off safety netting into hard packed snow.
Bern police have declined to blame the race organizers or the international ski federation (FIS), the sanctioning body. “This is a tragic case of a sporting accident with fatal outcome,” the police report allegedly reads. “In light of the conducted investigations, causation by a third party can be excluded.”
In a statement to the Associated Press, the FIS said it will await the state prosecutor's decision before taking additional action. FIS did upgrade safety measures in the sport providing more detail in prepartion guidelines and assigning an advisor to local organizing committees. The sport involves four skiers simultaneously racing over a course with turns, dips, bumps and jumps. It became an Olympic sport in 2010.
Likewise Alpine Canada's Max Gartner issued a statement which reads in part: “In
December 2012, an interim report was released by the Swiss police as
part of their investigation into the accident in Grindelwald. Alpine
Canada is disappointed that a final report, which it would like to have
the opportunity to thoroughly review, has still not been published. With
respect to calls for a separate, independent investigation, we continue
to await the publication of the final Swiss police report and look
forward to reviewing the investigation’s findings.”
The family had requested an independent and transparent investigation and agreed to waive legal options including money payments, lawsuits, and other litigation. Danson said the police report was “unacceptable and insulting,” and said “put all legal options back on the table.”