Sir Salman Rushdie ‘on a ventilator and could lose an eye’ after New York attack

Sir Salman was set to deliver a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution

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Sir Salman Rushdie is reportedly on a ventilator and may lose an eye after he was stabbed on stage in New York state.

The 75-year-old Indian-born British author sustained nerve damage to his arm and damage to his liver, according to the New York Times.

New York state police have named the suspected attacker as Hadi Matar, 24, of Fairview, New Jersey, who was taken into custody following the incident.

Sir Salman, whose writing led to death threats from Iran in the 1980s, was about to deliver a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution, in Chautauqua some 65 miles south-west of Buffalo, when the incident occurred.

He was stabbed at least once in the neck and once in the abdomen, according to police officials, before he was taken to hospital.

Author Salman Rushdie is transported to a helicopter after he was stabbed on stage before his scheduled speech at the Chautauqua Institution, Chautauqua, New York, U.S., August 12, 2022, in this screengrab taken from a social media video. TWITTER @HoratioGates3 /via REUTERS.
Author Salman Rushdie is transported to a helicopter after he was stabbed on stage before his scheduled speech at the Chautauqua Institution, Chautauqua, New York, U.S., August 12, 2022, in this screengrab taken from a social media video. TWITTER @HoratioGates3 /via REUTERS.

According to the NYT Sir Salman’s agent Andrew Wylie says he is on a ventilator and unable to speak.

Mr Wylie added the news was “not good” and that the author will “likely lose one eye”.

He said the nerves in Sir Salman’s arm were severed in the attack and that his liver was “stabbed and damaged”.

The author sustained nerve damage to his arm.
The author sustained nerve damage to his arm.

Major Eugene Staniszweski said at a press conference held in Jamestown on Friday: “Earlier today at approximately 10.47am, guest speaker Salman Rushdie, aged 75, and Ralph Henry Reese, age 73, had just arrived on stage at the institution.

“Shortly thereafter, the suspect jumped on to the stage and attacked Mr Rushdie, stabbing him at least once in the neck and at least once in the abdomen.

“Several members of the staff at the institution and audience members rushed the suspect and took him to the ground, and shortly thereafter, a trooper who was at the institution took the suspect into custody with the assistance of a Chautauqua County Sheriff’s deputy.

“Mr Rushdie was provided medical treatment by a doctor who was in the audience until EMS arrived on scene.

“Mr Rushdie was airlifted to a local trauma centre and is still currently undergoing surgery.”

Photos from the Associated Press (AP) news agency showed Sir Salman lying on his back with his legs in the air and a first responder crouched over him.