Mystery death clouds Dakar Rally

2015-01-07 14:43
Michal Hernik (AFP)

Chilecito - Dakar Rally organisers on Wednesday hunted for clues to the cause of the death of motorbike rider Michal Hernik that plunged the race into mourning after only three days.

The 39-year-old Polish rider's body was found 300 metres from the desert track with no apparent injury and no damage to his motorbike that would indicate an accident, according to race director Etienne Lavigne.

Lavigne added that there was no helmet on Hernik when the body was found.

"The circumstances surrounding his death have yet to be determined, as the competitor did not show any external signs of an accident," said a rally statement.

Organisers sent a helicopter to look for Henrik after he failed to arrive at the finish line of Tuesday's stage between the Argentinian towns of Villa Carlos Paz and Chilecito. His satellite tracker had stopped sending signals.

The Pole was taking part in the Dakar Rally for the first time.

His was the fifth death since the rally was moved to South America in 2009 over security concerns in the Sahara region and the 24th since the race was created in 1979.

Dakar Rally deaths since 2009:

2009 - Pascal Terry
2012 - Jorge Andres Martínez Boero
2013 - Thomas Bourgin
2014 - Eric Palante
2015 - Michal Hernik

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