Kerry breaks leg in bicycle crash; returning to US Monday

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John Kerry Hospitalized, Stable After Bike Crash Injury


GENEVA (AP) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry broke his leg in a bicycle crash Sunday after striking a curb and scrapped the rest of a four-nation trip that included an international conference on combating the Islamic State group. He planned to return to the United States on Monday.

Kerry was staying overnight in a Swiss hospital overnight as a precaution, State Department spokesman John Kirby said, before flying to Boston for further treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital.

"The secretary continues to be in great spirits and active," Kirby said. "He has done a range of phone calls including with the president."

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Kerry breaks leg in bicycle crash; returning to US Monday
In this picture taken on March 16, 2015 US Secretary of State John Kerry rides his bike during a break in Lausanne. According to an official spokesperson, US Secretary of State John Kerry was taken to hospital after having sustained suspected leg injuries during a cycling accident near Scionzier, France on May 31, 2015. He was transported via medical helicopter to the Geneva University Hospital (HUG), where he is currently being evaluated. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
GENEVA, SWITZERLAND - MAY 31: An helicopter sits atop the roof of the Geneva main hospital (HUG) on May 31, 2015 in Geneva, Switzerland. Secretary of State John Kerry was taken by helicopter to Genevas main medical centre (HUG) after he broke his leg in a bike crash in Scionzier, France - near Geneva. The Secretary of State was holding nuclear talks with Iran's foreign minister in Geneva. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)
A helicopter takes off from the roof of the Geneva University Hospital (HUG) in Geneva on May 31, 2015 where US Secretary of State John Kerry received treatment after a cycling accident. US Secretary of State John Kerry broke his leg in a cycling accident in France and will fly back to the United States for treatment, cutting short a European trip. Kerry, 71, a keen cyclist, was hospitalised in the Swiss city of Geneva after the accident across the border in the French Alps, the State Department said. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
Police officers stand guard at the entrance of the Geneva University Hospital (HUG)in Geneva on May 31, 2015 while US Secretary of State John Kerry was receiving treatment there after a cycling accident. US Secretary of State John Kerry broke his leg in a cycling accident in France and will fly back to the United States for treatment, cutting short a European trip. Kerry, 71, a keen cyclist, was hospitalised in the Swiss city of Geneva after the accident across the border in the French Alps, the State Department said. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
GENEVA, SWITZERLAND - MAY 31: Geneva main hospital (HUG) building is seen on May 31, 2015 in Geneva, Switzerland. Secretary of State John Kerry was taken by helicopter to Genevas main medical centre (HUG) after he broke his leg in a bike crash in Scionzier, France - near Geneva. The Secretary of State was holding nuclear talks with Iran's foreign minister in Geneva. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)
A cameraman films the Geneva University Hospital (HUG) where US Secretary of State John Kerry receives treatment on late May 31, 2015 in Geneva. Kerry broke his leg in a cycling accident in France on May 31, his spokesman said, adding that he was in 'stable condition' and will return to the United States for treatment. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
Police officers stand guard at the entrance of the Geneva University Hospital (HUG)in Geneva on May 31, 2015 while US Secretary of State John Kerry was receiving treatment there after a cycling accident. US Secretary of State John Kerry broke his leg in a cycling accident in France and will fly back to the United States for treatment, cutting short a European trip. Kerry, 71, a keen cyclist, was hospitalised in the Swiss city of Geneva after the accident across the border in the French Alps, the State Department said. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
The plane of the US secretary of state prepares to take off without John Kerry onboard on May 31, 2015 in Geneva. Kerry, who broke his leg in a cycling accident in France on May 31, will return to the United States for treatment with a medicalized plane. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
The plane of the US secretary of state takes off without John Kerry onboard on May 31, 2015 in Geneva. Kerry, who broke his leg in a cycling accident in France on May 31, will return to the United States for treatment with a medicalized plane. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
US Secretary of State John Kerry arrives to attend the inauguration of Nigeria's new President Mohammadu Buhari at the Eagles Square in Abuja, on May 29, 2015. Buhari, 72, defeated Goodluck Jonathan in March 28 elections -- the first time in Nigeria's history that an opposition candidate had beaten a sitting president. AFP PHOTO/PIUS UTOMI EKPEI (Photo credit should read PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 21: (AFP OUT) U.S. President Barack Obama (2nd R) waves goodbye to reporters after making a brief statment to the news media during a meeting with his cabinet with (L-R) Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Interiro Secretary Sally Jewell, Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Ashton Carter at the White House May 21, 2015 in Washington, DC. Obama said that his cabinet would use the meeting to 'run through the tape' and look back on recent successes and where to focus attention over the last 18 months in office. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
US Secretary of State John Kerry disembarks from his airplane upon arrival at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, May 19, 2015. Kerry returns after traveling to Beijing, China, Seoul, South Korea, and Seattle, Washington. AFP PHOTO / POOL / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
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Kerry, 71, fractured his right femur after crashing his bike near Scionzier, France, about 40 kilometers southeast of the Swiss border.

Paramedics and a physician were on the scene with his motorcade at the time and provided him with immediate attention. They quickly decided to call in a helicopter to transport him to Geneva's main medical center, HUG, where X-rays confirmed the extent of his injury.

"The secretary is stable and never lost consciousness, his injury is not life-threatening and he is expected to make a full recovery," Kirby said in an earlier statement.

The Dauphine Libere, a local newspaper, said Kerry fell near the beginning of his ride to the famed mountain pass called the Col de la Colombiere, which has been a route for the Tour de France more than a dozen times.

Right around the time of his fall, a Twitter feed about local driving conditions warned of the danger due to gravel along the pass. But U.S. officials said there was no gravel on the road where the accident occurred.

According to the newspaper, some Haute Savoie officials were with Kerry at the time, including the head of the region.

Kerry's regular plane flew back from Geneva to the United States on Sunday, carrying much of his staff and reporters who had accompanied him on the trip.

The secretary of state planned to board a plane later in the day with special medical equipment "to ensure he remains comfortable and stable throughout the flight," Kirby said. But on the advice of doctors, Kerry remained in Geneva's hospital another night.

Kerry decided to seek treatment in Boston because the fracture is near the site of his earlier hip surgery. Kirby said he'd be attended to by the same doctor who performed that operation.

Kerry's cycling rides have become a regular occurrence on his trips. He often takes his bike with him on the plane and was riding that bicycle Sunday.

During discussions in late March and early April between world powers and Iran, Kerry took several bike trips during breaks. Those talks were in Lausanne, Switzerland, and led to a framework agreement.

Kerry had been in Geneva for six hours of meetings with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Saturday as the sides now work to seal a comprehensive accord by June 30.

The prospect of a lengthy rehabilitation could hamper the nuclear talks and other diplomatic endeavors. Even if Kerry does not need surgery, it was not immediately known when he could fly again after returning to the United States.

Kerry has been the lead negotiator in several marathon sessions with Iran going back to 2013. The injury could affect other potential missions, such as one to the Cuban capital to raise the flag at a restored U.S. Embassy.

As for his current trip, Kerry was scheduled to travel to Madrid on Sunday for meetings with Spain's king and prime minister, before spending two days in Paris for an international gathering to combat the Islamic States.

He will participate in the Paris conference remotely, Kirby said, while Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken will replace him. John Allen, the retired general who is President Barack Obama's envoy for the global coalition against the extremist group, also is attending.

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