x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Abu Dhabi triathlete in critical condition after being hit by car

Medhi Karasane, an active member of the triathlete community and a member of the Abu Dhabi Tri Club, was struck by a car from behind while cycling on Saturday.

A cyclist riding at Al Sufouh 1 in Dubai. Triathlete Medhi Karasane was hit by a car while cycling in Abu Dhabi on November 9, bringing to question the safety of the cyclists once more, just two months after another triathlete, Roy Nasr, was killed by a drunk driver while training. Pawan Singh / The National
A cyclist riding at Al Sufouh 1 in Dubai. Triathlete Medhi Karasane was hit by a car while cycling in Abu Dhabi on November 9, bringing to question the safety of the cyclists once more, just two months after another triathlete, Roy Nasr, was killed by a drunk driver while training. Pawan Singh / The National

ABU DHABI // A triathlete suffered serious head and other injuries when he was hit by a car while cycling.

Medhi Karasane, an Etihad cabin crew manager, is unconscious and critically ill at Al Rahba hospital in Abu Dhabi.

“He is on a ventilator, he has a head injury, it’s a polytrauma case – he has injuries to his lower and upper limbs but his main injuries are his head injuries,” the hospital said.

Mr Karasane, an active member of the triathlete community and a member of the Abu Dhabi Tri Club, was struck by a car from behind while cycling on the Abu Dhabi to Dubai road near the 390 exit on Saturday morning.

He was in training for a 215km coast ride between Dubai and Fujairah.

Two months ago triathlete Roy Nasr, 49, died after he was hit by a drunk driver as he cycled with friends near Safa Park in Dubai on September 6.

Two of Nasr’s training partners were also hit from behind and were injured. Nasr, a Lebanese expatriate, died at the scene. The driver who killed him was jailed for a month.

Mr Karasane, a married Algerian expatriate in his thirties, had been cycling with three other friends on Saturday. One friend had left the group shortly before the accident.

As the three cyclists continued their training Mr Karasane, who was cycling closest to the road, was hit by the car and taken to hospital. He spent 12 hours in surgery.

“It is very, very bad,” said Luis Quinones, 42, a friend and fellow triathlete from the United States.

“Anyone who has been hit that hard is going to be in a bad way. His brain has got a lot of swelling.”

Mr Quinones described his friend as “a humble, amazing and happy guy”.

“He is the most giving person,” he said. “He is a genuine friend. Everyone who meets him just sees how big his heart is.”

Mr Quinones said Mr Karasane, who has lived in the UAE since 2007, was an avid triathlete.

“He loves the active lifestyle,” he said. “Running, swimming and cycling – he loves it all.”

Mr Quinones said fellow members of the triathlete community are organising a visiting schedule this week so that as many friends as possible can visit him in hospital and give support to his family.

Aubrey Tiedt, vice president of guest services at Etihad Airways, said the airline was hoping for Mr Karasane’s full and speedy recovery.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Medhi and his family at this very difficult time. We are providing the family with our full support.”

The Appeals Court last week upheld the one-month jail sentence on W J, 24, the driver from the Philippines who killed Nasr, and ordered him to pay Dh200,000 in blood money to the dead man’s family. The court also suspended his driving licence for six months.

He admitted driving under the influence of alcohol when he hit the three cyclists, causing death, risking a person’s safety, damaging property and illegal drinking.

Several memorial events have been held in Dubai in tribute to Nasr after his death in September.

jbell@thenational.ae

rtalwar@thenational.ae