Tiger Woods ‘fortunate to be alive’ following serious crash, police say in news conference

Tiger Woods is “fortunate to be alive” following a serious car crash in California, police said on Tuesday.

The golfer was conscious and had serious injuries to both legs when found at the crash scene.

Authorities said the 45-year-old was in a “serious” condition but was able to communicate with them when they arrived on the scene in Rancho Palo Verdes, California.

His car was going downhill on a steep and winding road when it crossed the centre, crashed into the curb and rolled over several times into brush and a tree.

A neighbour who lives about 15 metres (50 ft) from the accident spot, a notoriously dangerous stretch of road in the area, called 911 at 0712 local time 1512 GMT.

Authorities say that the airbags deployed inside the Genesis GV80 SUV, which was loaned to Woods for the week, and that he had been wearing a seatbelt.

Fire chief Daryl Osby said that firefighters used pry tools and an axe to remove Woods from the car through the windscreen.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva told a press conference that deputies had found “no evidence of impairment” from drugs or alcohol at the crash site. “No impairment was found at this time but it will be the subject of the investigation,” he said.

The sheriff said that “it would have been a fatal crash” if the interior of the Genesis GV80 SUV had not remained intact in the crash.

“The interior of the car was intact which kind of gave him the cushion to survive,” said Mr Villanueva.

Mr Villanueva added that there were no signs of braking or skid marks on the road and that it appeared Mr Woods had been “going at a relatively greater speed than normal”.

“At the time it crossed the centre divider, to the point that it rested, was several hundred feet away, so obviously that indicates they were going at a relatively greater speed than normal,” Mr Villanueva said.

“Because it is downhill, it slopes, and also it curves. That area has a high frequency of accidents. It’s not uncommon.”

Deputy Carlos Gonzalez was the first officer on the scene and described Mr Woods as “calm and lucid” when he spoke to him.

“Unfortunately, Mr Woods was not able to stand up under his own power. Mr Woods was seated in the driver’s seat, I made contact with them and made sure he was able to speak to me,” he said.

“He seemed calm and lucid at that time. I kept him calm until LA County Fire arrived on the scene.

“I spoke to him, I asked him what his name was and he said his name was ‘Tiger’. And at that moment I immediately recognised him. I asked him if he knew where he was, what time of day, to make sure he was oriented.

“He seemed as though he was lucid and calm. He did not seem concerned about his injuries at the time, which is common in traffic accidents when people are in shock.

 “It’s a traumatic experience. It’s not uncommon for people to be focused on unimportant things or even if they are in pain, they may not feel it until much later.”

The deputy added that Woods was wearing a seatbelt may have contributed to saving his life.

“It is very fortunate that Mr Woods was able to come out of this alive,” said the deputy.

He was then transported to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center because it is also a trauma centre.

Woods was due to tape two “teaching lessons” at the Rolling Hills Country Club with NFL quarterbacks Drew Brees and Justin Herbert when the accident happened.

Officials said there was also a second vehicle accident caused by people slowing to see what had happened, but no one was hurt.

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