A Brazilian competitor died Thursday after a crash in a bike race at the World Police and Fire Games, and two other racers were seriously injured, Prince William County police said.
Authorities said Carlos Silva, a police investigator from Brazil, died from injuries he suffered in a chain-reaction crash in a race in Prince William Forest Park. Police said that as racers traveled downhill, one had a front-tire blowout and collided with others. The crash occurred about 12:20 p.m.
Police said all the cyclists were wearing safety equipment. The two critically injured cyclists were described as a 43-year-old man from Gettysburg, Pa., and a 44-year-old man from Canada. Their names were not immediately released.
At a news conference Thursday night at Inova Fairfax Hospital, Alexandre Manzan, a police investigator who is a longtime colleague of Silva’s, said the two — who were roommates for the games — were competing in a 36-mile road race. Fifty-eight riders were in the contest, race officials said, and Silva, 48, was behind the leading cyclists but at the front of the middle group.
“He loves to be here, he loves to train, but most of all, he loved his career and his daughter,” Manzan said.
Bill Knight, president and chief executive of the games, said the games will continue.
“The games that honor the courage and dedication of our public safety officers will continue [Friday],” Knight said. “I am sure our athletes will keep their injured comrades in their thoughts and prayers, as we all will.”
Tens of thousands of police officers and firefighters from more than 70 countries are in the Washington area to participate in the World Police and Fire Games, which feature dozens of Olympic-style events. Nontraditional contests, such as wrist wrestling, are included, too. The games, which run through Sunday, are based in Fairfax County, but events are being held across the region.
The crash occurred on the second lap of a seven-mile paved loop, officials said. Witnesses told police that the tire blowout could be heard by competitors and spectators. Immediately after the crash, emergency medical personnel from Prince William and Fairfax counties who were at the scene rendered aid, police said. Two off-duty Fairfax County police officers who had been watching also helped.
Authorities said the cyclists were taken to the hospital, and Silva died about 5 p.m. One of the critically injured riders underwent surgery Thursday evening. Officials declined to describe the nature of the two men’s injuries.
“On behalf of the Prince William County Police Department, I want to express my sincere condolences to the family of the deceased athlete, Carlos Silva,” acting Prince William County Police Chief Steve Thompson, said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the other injured athletes, fellow teammates and the public safety family throughout the world.”
In a joint statement, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova and other officials said they were “deeply saddened.”
“We are in deep mourning, and we will take care of all of our brothers and sisters with Investigator Silva to make sure he arrives back in his home country in dignity and respect,” said Fairfax County Police Chief Ed Roessler. “Investigator Silva and the other two injured officers are everyday heroes.”
Justin Jouvenal and Victoria St. Martin contributed to this report.