Poland's prime minister hurt in car crash

Poland's prime minister hurt in car crash

Poland's prime minister is said to be in a "good condition" after being injured in a car crash in her home town.

Beata Szydlo was flown by helicopter to Warsaw for medical tests, but doctors and her spokesman said she was not badly hurt.

The accident happened shortly before 7pm on Friday in the southern town of Oswiecim, where the Nazis ran the Auschwitz death camp.

Ms Szydlo, 53, was travelling in a convoy along the town's main road when another car struck her black Audi limousine, causing it to hit a tree.

Government spokesman Rafal Bochenek said Ms Szydlo was in "good condition" but had been flown 215 miles by helicopter to the government hospital in Warsaw for further monitoring and tests.

The car that hit the prime minister's vehicle was a Fiat driven by a 21-year-old man who was sober, said police spokesman Sebastian Glen.

Two security officers, one of whom was the car's driver, were also taken to a hospital with injuries.

Dr Andrzej Jakubowski, who examined Ms Szydlo in the hospital in Oswiecim, a town of 40,000, said she was stable, conscious and "very strong" given the trauma.

Dr Jakubowski said she received some injuries but the prognosis was good.

In Warsaw, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, head of the governing party Law and Justice, said during a speech to supporters: "I must start from the sad news that there has been a car accident in which the prime minister and Government Protection Bureau officers were seriously hurt.

"We are with you, Beata. And we are convinced that after a short stay in the hospital you will be with us again, you will be at the head of the government."

Oswiecim is best known to the world by its German name, Auschwitz, where Nazi Germany ran the death camp in occupied Poland during the Second World War.

Today it is the site of a memorial and museum that draws large numbers of visitors.

Poland's interior minister called an emergency meeting with the leadership of the Government Protection Office, which protects and drives Ms Szydlo and other top figures and prosecutors also opened an investigation.

It is the latest in a string of road incidents involving top political figures.

In November, several vehicles in a Polish government convoy collided during a state visit to Israel.

Ms Szydlo was not in one of those that collided but two other Polish officials received minor injuries.

In January, defence minister Antoni Macierewicz escaped uninjured from an eight-car collision.

In March 2016, a limousine carrying President Andrzej Duda skidded into a grassy ditch after suffering a puncture. Mr Duda was unhurt.

AP

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