Medics treating German minister Altmaier after he falls from stage

BERLIN (Reuters) – Medics were in attendance after German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier, a close ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel, fell on stairs leading from the stage at a conference in Dortmund on Tuesday, the ministry said.

Television footage showed Altmaier, aged 61, stepping down from the podium at the end of his speech. The feed then cut to the audience applauding, before they gasped and their hands went to their mouths at the sight of his fall.

“Economy Minister Altmaier tripped on the stairs and fell when he was leaving the stage at the digital summit today,” the ministry said in a statement, adding he was undergoing medical treatment and a planned news conference had been canceled.

No further details were immediately available.

A Reuters witness said press had been cleared from the auditorium at the conference on Germany’s digital strategy and that medics were treating him.

Footage showed a screen being put up at the front of the auditorium, seemingly to guard Altmaier’s privacy as conference attendees and organizers milled around uncertainly.

A convinced pro-European, Altmaier has been a strong advocate of Franco-German initiatives to help Europe’s traditional heavy industries respond to the challenge from digital upstarts from China and the U.S.

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