Spanish motorcyclist in induced coma after horrendous crash in Dakar Rally

Spanish motorcyclist Carles Falcon has been placed in an induced coma after a major crash in stage two of the Dakar Rally on Sunday.

Falcon received immediate assistance from a medical team arriving via helicopter after crashing 15km short of the end of the 463km stage between Al Henakiyah and Al Duwadimi in Saudi Arabia.

The race director, of an event known in motorsport circles as the world’s toughest race, revealed Falcon did not have a pulse when the team arrived after being notified of the incident by another rider. But he was resuscitated by the first doctor on the scene and is now heading to hospital in Riyadh.

“He is in an induced coma and has a cerebral odema (brain swelling),” his team, Twintrail Racing Team, said in a statement.

“The prospects for recovery are uncertain at this stage, and the rider is expected to remain in hospital for at least a week in Riyadh.

“He was admitted to Al Duwadimi hospital where he underwent further tests. It has been confirmed that he has a fracture of the C2 which needs to be operated on urgently.

“Carles will be kept under sedation for the next few days to monitor the evolution of the oedema he has suffered in his head.”

When asked whether Falcon’s life was in danger, race director David Castera responded: “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 the chest), he has compression in the lungs but it is not serious. The important thing is to look ast 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.”

After the second stage, Nacho Cornejo leads the bike race while two-time Dakar champion Sam Sunderland, from Great Britain, had to abandon the race on Monday due to a mechanical problem.