Chayenne Van Aarle, the 23-year-old winner of last year's Miss Belgium competition, has sustained serious head injuries after being involved in a car accident outside Antwerp, Het Laatste Nieuws has reported.
According to Van Aarle's boyfriend, Nicolas Geniets, Van Aarle left his house in Waasmunster, East Flanders, on Tuesday afternoon and was driving on the E17 motorway when a truck suddenly slowed down in front of her. She was unable to brake in time and crashed into it at 13:32 local time.
"She has serious injuries to her face and the rest of her body," Geniets explained. "She was hit in the lungs and also suffers from internal bleeding, but according to the doctors, she is in a stable condition... Doctors are currently removing glass from her neck area."
It reportedly took rescue services half an hour to extricate Van Aarle from her Volvo V40 vehicle, which she won during last year's competition. She was subsequently brought, unconscious, to the ZNA Middelheim hospital in Antwerp.
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Van Aarle's accident comes just days before the Miss Belgium 2023 competition this Saturday, in which she had been scheduled to participate.
"I was horrified to hear that the fire department had to free [Van Aarle]," competition organiser Darline Devos told Het Laatste Nieuws. "She was going to open the show with a song of her own. She speaks French and Dutch perfectly, so as a presenter backstage she would have done brilliantly."
Devos added that this Saturday's competition will still go ahead: "Everything has been arranged, but I hope that Chayenne can still be part of it in some way. It was her thing, she was looking forward to it very much... But the most important thing at the moment is that Chayenne is out of mortal danger."