Condition of injured US photographer stabilizes

The condition of an U.S. international adventure photographer who was injured by a chunk of concrete smashed through the windshield of his car and hit him in the head, has stabilized.

Bobby Model, 34, was still in intensive care but was stable, said Sonja Muller, client service manager for the Vergelegen Medi-Clinic.

He was in a car driven by his sister when he was struck Thursday afternoon near the Monwabisi resort, which is close to Khayelitsha, one of Cape Town's many sprawling poor township settlements. His sister, Faith, 32, was not hurt.

Many of Cape Town's busy highways are notorious for spates of stone-throwing - attacks with seemingly no clear purpose. Last year, a man was killed after a brick was hurled through his windshield.

It was not immediately clear whether anyone threw the object that struck Model, and police opened an investigation for attempted murder.

The Cape Argus reported Monday that Makhaya Mani, community safety spokesman for the Western Cape province, said authorities were still determining whether it was a stone-throwing incident or whether a piece of concrete had fallen off a truck.

Model, of Cody, Wyoming, was in South Africa on vacation. A contributor for National Geographic Adventure Magazine, he lives in Kenya and had worked in several war zones, including Sudan. He is also an avid rock climber.

On Monday, an e-mail message from Faith's partner, Hans-Peter Bakker, was posted on an Internet forum site devoted to climbing that has been keeping members updated about Model's accident.

The message on the Supertopo Web site said Model's condition was "unchanged" and that Model's mother, Anne, had arrived and his father, Bob, was expected.

Last year, Model was named by the National Geographic Society as one of its "emerging explorers," an annual honor extended to "dynamic personalities who are making a significant contribution to world knowledge through exploration."

A 1997 graduate of the University of Wyoming, Model began rock climbing as a young teenager. He was part of a Wyoming team that completed the first free ascent of the East Face of Pakistan's Trango Tower.

Model appeared on the cover of National Geographic when the magazine published an account of that expedition.

South Africa has one of the highest crime rates in the world, with about 50 people killed each day. The government is desperate to counter the country's violent image, especially before the World Cup soccer tournament it will host in 2010.