3 die, biker saved in Dakar

2012-01-03 20:19

Mendoza, Argentina - A French motorcyclist was in a critical condition this afternoon after being found unconscious in remote sand dunes during the Dakar Rally in western Argentina.

Three people involved in the event have already been killed.

Officials at Teodoro J Schestakow Hospital said Sebastien Coue apparently crashed during the second stage of the rally and was exposed to temperatures above 40°C before he was found. His body temperature also went above 40, officials said.


It was unclear how long he had been exposed to the extreme heat.

Hospital director Armando Dauverne said: "He entered in a critical condition. We don't know how long he was exposed to the sun. Right now he is in intensive care."

The Dakar Rally, considered one of the most dangerous races in motorsport, has already claimed three lives this year. Argentine bike rider Jorge Martinez Boero died in a crash in Sunday's first stage. On the same day, the pilot of an ultralight plane and his son died when the aircraft went down while following the race.

This is the fourth consecutive year of the event being held in South America. The rally was held in Europe and Africa until the 2008 race was cancelled because of fears of terrorism. It was moved to South America the next year.

The route this year is different to that of the first three, which were loop courses from Buenos Aires to Chile then back to Buenos Aires.

This year the race began in Argentina then will pass through Chile to finish in Lima, Peru, on January 15.