Spectator Killed In Seventh Stage Of Dakar Rally
The Dakar Rally is one of those endurance races that isn’t exempt from casualties. The nature of the race pretty much assures that, even if organizers and teams have made a lot of effort in trying to keep the race as safe and secure for racers and spectators alike. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case during the seventh stage of the Dakar Rally that was held on Saturday, January 9, 2016. A 63-year old spectator lost his life at kilometer 82 of the special stage between Uyuni, Bolivia to Salta, Argentina.
According to organizers of the event, the spectator was killed instantly after an accident involving French driver Lionel Baud and his Mitsubishi Lancer. Medical service personnel immediately rushed to the scene of the accident, only to note that the spectator was killed instantly. The circumstances surrounding the accident are currently being investigated by Bolivian authorities.
The spectator’s death is the second major incident to strike the 2016 Dakar Rally. Last week, 11 spectators were injured during the prologue stage of the event after the XRaid Mini Cooper of driver Guo Meiling crashed into a sea of spectators. Two of those who were injured were a father and a son. Fortunately, both are on the mend.
What isn’t fortunate is the fate the 63-year old spectator received. It’s the first reported fatality of a spectator since 2013, when a support vehicle crashed into a pair of taxis, killing two spectators in the process.
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Why it matters
You never want to start off the week with news like this, but as is the case far too many times to our liking, accidents happen that lead to the loss of lives. It’s a painful reminder of the fragility of our lives. I feel terrible for the family of the 63-year old man who got hit by Baud’s Mitsubishi Lancer. It’s a life that was taken far too cruelly and yet, it’s hard to blame Baud for the accident either. Reports are still murky at this point, but a statement from event organizers said that the accident occurred “on the race course”. That could just be a vague description of the scene, or maybe it really did happen at a specific place wherein spectators aren’t allowed to be in. I’m not going to jump to any conclusions because that would be irresponsible. I just hope that more details emerge from this accident so we can all find out what really happened.
In all fairness, the family of the victim deserves to know what happened and for his part, I’m sure Baud wants some kind of closure on this too as soon as possible.
Hopefully, it doesn’t come to the point where more lives are lost because there wasn’t enough done to address the safety concerns of this year’s Dakar Rally and future installments of the race.