Update on Injured Australian
statement from Cycling Australia and the Australian Sports Commission
Released at 20:00hrs, 21
July (Aus Eastern Standard Time), (12:30hrs Europe, 11:30hrs UK)
Gillett has arrived in Germany to bring home the body of his wife, cyclist
Amy Gillett, who was killed on Tuesday (0140 AEST / Monday local time) in
an accident which has left five of her team mates in hospital. She was 29.
Amy died instantly when a teenage female driver lost control of her
vehicle, crossed to the other side of the road and ploughed into the six
member Australian women's team who were training for the a Tour due to
start the next day.
Mr Gillett and Rod Katz, the President of the Bicycle Federation of
Australia who is travelling with him, were met at the airport by Cycling
Australia National Performance Director, Shayne Bannan, the Australian
Ambassador to Germany, Pamela Fayle and members of her staff and
Australian Institute of Sport Counsellor, Ruth Anderson.
Lorna and Desley Graham, the mother and sister of the injured Lorian, were
on the same flight and were driven by the Ambassador to the Uni Klinik in
Jena to see her.
Embassy staff and Ms Anderson have escorted Mr Gillett and Mr Katz to
another hospital where Amy's body was taken after the accident. Mr Gillett
has also visited the site of the tragedy where a simple wooden cross
bearing his wife's name was placed by mourners during the memorial service
After Mr Gillett has seen her Amy's body will be transferred to Frankfurt
in preparation for the flight back to Australia. Her casket will be draped
with an Australian flag for the trip home on the weekend. Amy Gillett's
(nee Safe) family have confirmed a funeral will be held for her in
Ballarat next Friday July 29th followed by a memorial service. Further
details will be published in next Wednesday's newspapers.
Mr Bannan says Mr Gillett was 'as you would expect after a tragedy like
this' when he arrived in Germany.
"He's been through so much but Simon says he wants to visit the
injured girls in hospital who were his wife's team mates and
friends," said Mr Bannan. "He also wants to see some of other
Australian riders who are here for the Thuringen Tour who have trained,
travelled and raced with Amy over recent years as part of the Australian
Those riders include Sara Carrigan, Oenone Wood, Olivia Gollan, Emma
Rickard, Rochelle Gilmore and sisters Kate and Natalie Bates who have been
to the hospital several times to visit their injured compatriots.
Natalie Bates says everyone is pulling together and taking strength from
"It's been amazing but that's not surprising because we are such a
strong little family here in Europe," said Ms Bates. "We have a
bit of a cry but then we have a bit of a laugh and we're supporting each
other to get through this."
Ms Bates says she is encouraged by the resilience of her injured friends.
"They are so amazing and are being so strong, so brave and are
talking a little bit about what's happened and about what they saw,"
said Ms Bates of Katie Brown, Kate Nichols and Lorian Graham who are
sharing a room in the hospital which has become an Australian outpost.
"There are so many people here now with the families and friends it's
turned into a bit of a party which is keeping everyone's spirits up.
"We make sure they always have someone around to talk to and Katie
Brown was even cracking her own jokes as they wheeled her back into the
room yesterday after an arthroscopy," she said. "Her brother
Graeme was telling bad jokes but it was a really positive experience to be
there and it made us feel good afterwards."
Ms Bates says they have not yet been able to see the two riders who remain
in intensive care, Alexis Rhodes, 20, and Louise Yaxley, 23, but they have
seen Alexis' parents and that has helped.
"They were so strong and so positive. "We took strength from
them and we are all optomistic about their recovery," said the Sydney
cyclist and physiotherapist. "The hospital staff are great even when
we walk in in massive numbers, seven or eight of us at a time, they just
work around us and are really welcoming and supportive.
"It's a really good hospital and the doctors and so competent so
we're positive they are in good hands."
Australian Sports Commission Chairman, Peter Bartels, and Australian
Institute of Sport Director, Professor Peter Fricker, met with doctors
again tonight (AEST) to receive an update on Rhodes and Yaxley and report
their condition is unchanged.
"It will probably be Monday before there is any change," said Mr
Medical Status Update
Two riders remain in intensive care
Alexis Rhodes, 20, (SA) - Remains in a critical but stable
condition in intensive care. She has suffered serious chest trauma and
spinal injuries and will require further surgery. She has fractures of
parts of her thoracic spine and seven broken bones in her back. There is
no evidence at this stage that her spinal cord has been damaged. There are
bone fragments near her spinal cord and doctors will operate to remove
those in due course. Doctors are keeping Alexis unconscious, on an
automatic ventilator and will not wake her until they believe it is
medically safe to do so. She also has extensive tissue damage. Parents
Jenni and Greg Rhodes are in Jena. She is expected to remain in hospital
for 4 - 6 weeks.
Louise Yaxley, 23, (TAS) - Remains in a critical but stable
condition in intensive care. Louise underwent further surgery last night (AEST)
to stabilise her condition. She has a small blood clot in her brain which
is not causing any major problem at this stage and is being monitored by
doctors. She has also suffered chest trauma and a puncture wound to her
abdomen. She has a broken arm and severe damage to both arms and legs
(grazing and abrasions which have stripped the skin from her limbs) that
will require plastic surgery. Louise is also heavily sedated and on an
automatic ventilator. Doctors will not wake her until it is medically safe
to do so. Parents Annette and Brian Yaxley arrived early this morning and
have visited the hospital and spoken with her doctors. Partner Mark Padget
is also in Jena. She is expected to remain in hospital for 4 - 6 weeks.
Three riders in a satisfactory condition and in the same hospital
Katie Brown, 21, (NSW) - Remains in a satisfactory condition after
surgery on both her left knee and right leg. She also has fractures of
three bones in her left wrist and her left ring finger is broken. Doctors
expect her to be released from hospital in two or three weeks. Her parents
Rodney and Lorraine Brown, brother Graeme Brown and his wife Hayley along
with Katie's boyfriend Mark Renshaw are also in Jena.
Lorian Graham, 27, (QLD) - Remains in a satisfactory condition
after surgery. She has a fracture of her right collar bone and the patella
in her left knee. Doctors have fixed tension wire to her knee to support
it. Her left arm has some abrasions but we are not aware of any fractures
of her left arm or collar bone. Mother Lorian Graham and sister Desley are
Kate Nichols, 20, (NSW) - Remains in a satisfactory condition after
surgery to repair tendon damage in her right hand and fingers. Doctors
have splinted her hand and fingers to minimise scar tissue and to assist
in the return of full mobility in her hand. She has a small piece of glass
in her eye which doctors will remove if necessary. Multiple abrasions and
doctors removed a lot of glass from her wounds but she is already
undergoing physiotherapy and expected to be released from hospital in a
week or so. Parents Kevin and Sylvia are in Jena.
Cycling Australia has established an email link for people who wish to
send condolence messages to the family of Amy Gillett or to pass on their
thoughts and wishes to those injured. Go to www.cycling.org.au
and follow the link on the home page. Message can also be sent via the
Australian Sports Commission website www.ausport.gov.au
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