PM Szydlo flown to Warsaw after crash

By VANESSA GERA and MONIKA SCISLOWSKA

Associated Press

WARSAW, Poland — Prime Minister Beata Szydlo suffered injuries in a car crash in southern Poland on Friday and was flown by helicopter to Warsaw for medical tests, even though doctors and her spokesman said that she was not badly hurt.

The accident occurred shortly before 7 p.m. in the southern town of Oswiecim, which is Szydlo’s hometown. Szydlo, 53, was traveling in a convoy along the town’s main road when another car drove into Szydlo’s black Audi limousine, causing it to hit a tree.

The state broadcaster TVP published an image of her limousine, with the front of the car bashed in.

Sebastian Glen, a police spokesman, said the car that hit the prime minister’s car was a small Fiat driven by a 21-year-old man who was sober. Two security officers, one of whom was the car’s driver, were also taken to a hospital with injuries.

Government spokesman Rafal Bochenek said Szydlo was in “good condition” but was being transported 350 kilometers (215 miles) by helicopter to a government hospital in Warsaw for further monitoring and tests.

Dr. Andrzej Jakubowski, who examined Szydlo in the hospital in Oswiecim, a town of 40,000, said she was stable and conscious all the time and was talking and “very strong” given the trauma. Jakubowski said it was Szydlo’s decision to go through more tests in Warsaw.

The two others hurt in the accident were being diagnosed and undergoing treatment in the hospital’s orthopedics ward, the doctor said.

In Warsaw, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the head of the governing party, Law and Justice, said during a speech to supporters that “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,” Kaczynski said. “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. It is the town where Nazi Germany ran the death camp in occupied Poland during World War II and today 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 Szydlo and other top figures. Meanwhile, prosecutors also opened an investigation.