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Dakar rider hospitalised after major crash on Stage 2

Spanish rider Carles Falcon is in serious but stable condition after suffering a horrifying accident on the second stage of the Dakar Rally.

Carles Falcón

Riding a Rally2-Spec KTM for the TwinTrail Racing Team, Falcon was involved in a crash 448km into Sunday’s 463km test between Al Henakiyah and Al Duwadimi.

Falcon received immediate assistance from a crew that arrived via a medical helicopter, before he had to be airlifted to Al Duwadimi hospital for further treatment.

He was initially reported to be in a “serious condition” in a statement issued by the organiser.

Shortly afterwards, Dakar race director David Castera revealed that Falcon didn’t have a pulse when the doctor arrived at the scene of the accident. He was successfully resuscitated, but had to be taken to hospital for further treatment.

The exact scope of his injuries won’t be clear until results of all the tests are available.

"He fell at the end of the stage," Castera told reporters including Autosport. “Then, we arrived with the doctor, and he found him [in a complicated state], he didn't have a pulse, and then he resuscitated him.

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"Now he's got a pulse, his blood pressure is a bit better, he's in hospital and we're testing everything to see what we're going to do, whether we can operate there or stabilise him first and then bring him to Riyadh to do the things that can be done there.

"However, what I don't have right now is the full balance sheet to see what things we do and what needs to be done. It's more stable, and we've got it back, which is the most important thing."

He added: "I can't tell you [how he is right now] because my doctor is still in the hospital, everyone tells their own story, but I know that he fell, and we arrived 16 minutes later by helicopter. We went more to watch than to act."

When questioned whether his life was in danger, Castera replied: "You have to wait a bit longer to give the latest.

“We have to look at a scan to see what has happened, it seems that he has no effusion [fluid build-up in his chest], he has compression in the lungs, but it is not serious, the important thing is to look at the level of the head, then, when we have something more, we will report it.

"He has impacted his head, so we are looking to see if he has a fracture, he has made a movement with his head, and that is what we are looking at."

His team has since stated that Falcon has been placed into an induced coma and will remain in hospital for at least a week. 

Update (8 January): Falcon was admitted to Riyadh hospital in the Intensive Care Unit and remains in an induced coma while doctors continue to perform tests.

An operation on the fracture of the C2 vertebra has been postponed to reduce the cerebral edema.

Falcon has also suffered five rib fractures, and fractures to his left wrist and clavicle.

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