NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Spectators injured in crash at Granite City car rally

Crash scene at Granite City Rally
Image caption The crash happened during the Granite City Rally in Durris Forest

A man has been airlifted to hospital after a car left a forest track and hit four spectators at a car rally near Banchory.

He was taken by helicopter to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary after the incident at the Granite City Rally in Durris Forest at about 11:15.

Police said the man, who is believed to be in his 50s, suffered "life-threatening" leg and pelvic injuries.

Three other men were taken to hospital by ambulance.

One of them suffered minor injuries, while the other two sustained serious injuries which were described as not life-threatening.

Organisers said the incident occurred after one of the rally cars came off the track and a number of spectators went to help.

A few minutes later another driver apparently lost control at the same spot and collided with the four men.

Insp Ewan Innes, from Grampian Police, said: "This is a very unfortunate incident and our thoughts are with those who are injured and their families.

"Inquiries are at an early stage and I have been in contact with the procurator fiscal's office to discuss the incident.

"At this time we are deploying collision investigators to the scene and we will be working closely with the procurator fiscal, race organisers and Aberdeenshire Council to carry out a full inquiry into the circumstances of the incident."

'Swift response'

He added: "It is too early to speculate as to exactly what has happened at this time as we still have a number of witnesses to speak to and I would encourage anyone who did witness the incident to come forward so that we can speak to them."

In a statement, the clerk of the course for the rally, Ian Shiells, said: "Obviously this is sad incident, and our thoughts are with the injured spectators.

"Safety is always paramount in Scottish rallying, and we thank the rescue crews and medical staff for their swift response to the incident."

The Granite City Rally is billed as "the biggest motorsport event in the north-east of Scotland".

It involves more than 100 crews starting from the Thainstone Agricultural Centre, near Inverurie.

The course runs for 44 miles (71km), in five stages, and is the third round in the Scottish Rally Championship.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites