NEW YORK: British author Salman Rushdie underwent emergency surgery on Friday after an assailant stabbed him in the neck at a literary event in New York state.
Police said a male suspect stormed the stage and attacked Rushdie and an interviewer, with the writer suffering “an apparent stab wound to the neck.”
Rushdie fell to the floor when the man attacked him, and was then surrounded by a small group of people who held up his legs, seemingly to send more blood to his upper body, according to a witness attending the lecture. He was taken by helicopter to a local hospital, police said.
A state trooper assigned to the event at the Chautauqua Institution, where Rushdie was due to give a talk, took the suspect into custody, while the interviewer suffered an injury to the head.
Police gave no details about the suspect’s identity or any probable motive.
Social media footage showed people rushing to Rushdie’s aid and administrating emergency medical care. “A most horrible event just happened (and) the amphitheater is evacuated,” one witness said on social media.
Rushdie, 75, was propelled into the spotlight with his second novel Midnight’s Children in 1981, which won international praise and Britain’s prestigious Booker Prize for its portrayal of post-independence India.