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US secretary of state John Kerry breaks leg in France accident

US secretary of state John Kerry broke his leg in a bicycle crash on Sunday, apparently after hitting a curb, and scrapped the rest of a four-nation trip that included an international conference on combating the Islamic State group.

world Updated: Jun 01, 2015 11:34 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times

US secretary of state John Kerry has cut short his Europe trip and is returning home to Boston after breaking a leg while cycling in France on Sunday.

The state department said Kerry suffered the injury while cycling near Scionzier, France, when his cycle hit the curb. The break was close to the site of a prior hip surgery.

Kerry was taken by helicopter to a hospital in Geneva, from where he was being brought back to Boston to be treated by the same doctor who did the earlier operation.

“The Secretary is stable and never lost consciousness, his injury is not life-threatening, and he is expected to make a full recovery,” said states department spokesperson John Kirby.

In another disturbing news for the Obama administration, vice-president Joe Biden’s eldest son Beau Biden 46, died of brain cancer in a hospital near Washington DC on Saturday.

This is a second time the vice-president has had to deal with such a tragedy. He lost his first wife and their daughter in a car accident within weeks of inning his first senate election in 1972.

“Michelle and I are grieving tonight,” said President Barack Obama in a statement, adding the vice-president and his wife were “as good as friends get”.

Kerry had met his Iranian counterpart on Saturday for talks in Geneva and had expected that meeting to go on for another day, but it didn’t because of differences over some key issues.

Now, he had spare time on his hands.

A source in the French local government told AFP Kerry had wanted to cycle one of the stages of the Tour de France, the challenging Col de la Colombiere mountain pass.

The secretary of state is a keen cyclist, and has often been sighted riding out with security details during breaks in Iran negotiations, and on other foreign assignments.

Kerry was scheduled to fly to Spain next, but that’s cancelled.

However, he will join counterparts from allied nations to discuss ISIS on Tuesday, as scheduled, but through remote video link, not physically in person.

The 71-year-old secretary of state has set himself a grueling work schedule, having travelled to 63 countries — several times to India — since taking over from Hillary Clinton in 2012.

First Published: May 31, 2015 17:50 IST