OSLO : Doctors treating Austrian skier Matthias Lanzinger had to amputate his left leg below the knee on Tuesday following his horror fall during a World Cup race, the Austrian Ski Federation said.

The 27-year-old was concussed and smashed his left leg in a fall in the World Cup super-G race in Kvitfjell, Norway on Sunday.

He was air-lifted to a hospital in Oslo where he underwent two drawn-out operations.

Lanzinger was placed in an artificial coma to help treat his injuries but developed serious vascular problems as doctors struggled to re-establish blood circulation to his left foot and ankle.

"His condition was deteriorating and his life was in danger so that made it necessary to operate immediately," said Austrian doctor Thomas Holzenbein who carried out the operation along with Norwegian colleague Professor Lars Engebretsen.

"The amputation was below the knee and since then Matthias Lanzinger's condition has markedly improved," he added in a statement issued by the Austrian ski federation.

Lanzinger lost his balance in the high-speed race down the treacherous Kvitfjell piste and was knocked unconscious as his head hit a ski-pole marker. He then crashed to the ground and hurtled down into the safety-netting as his leg buckled under him.

"Unfortunately, his injury was very serious because it seems that his foot was twisted several times around its own axis and this really damaged the bone and soft tissue," Engebretsen said.

Lanzinger regained consciousness on Tuesday, his doctor said.

The Austrian skier has placed just once on the podium in 37 races, winning third place in the Beaver Creek super-G in the United States in 2005. - AFP/de

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