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  1. ITV Report

Ski champion's near miss as drone camera falls from sky

The drone could have caused grave injury to the Olympic champion. Credit: Reuters

Downhill skiing champion Marcel Hirscher escaped unharmed after a drone camera fell from the sky and narrowly missed him during a race in Italy.

The Austrian reigning world champion was on his second run of the night's slalom event at Madonna di Campiglio when the remote-control aircraft smashed into the snow just behind him.

"This is horrible," An unharmed Hirscher told The Associated Press. "This can never happen again. This (sic) can be a serious injury."

Despite the brush with fate, Olympic champion Hirscher, 26, finished second behind Henrik Kristoffersen of Norway to reclaim the leadership of the overall World Cup standings from Aksel Lund Svindal.

Hirscher later posted an image of the near-miss to his Instagram account, with the caption "heavy air traffic in Italy."

Since the incident, the International Ski Federation has banned drones from its World Cup races.

FIS men's race director Markus Waldner said drones will be prohibited "as long as I am responsible... because they are a bad thing for safety".

The company responsible for the camera drone, sports marketing agency Infront, said in a statement "the circumstances leading to (the crash) are currently being examined".