UPDATE: The cause of death was due to pulmonary edema according to the autopsy. The forensic report also said his body showed no signs of injury or dehydration, and he would have died between nightfall on Sunday and dawn on Monday. This is truly sad news.
It is unfortunate news that we report that the 30th running of the Dakar Rally has suffered its first fatality. 49 year old French rider Pascal Terry (Yamaha #192) died sometime between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning from a cause not yet determined.
Last Sunday, while standing the second stage of the rally, between Santa Rosa and Puerto Madryn, Terry informed race control that he had run out of fuel. With help from another competitor, he again contacted the organization to inform them that everything was back to normal. After seeing that Pascal had not moved during the afternoon, the organization decided to contact Pascal via a satellite link, but could not get him on the line.
Exacerbating the event, there was a breakdown in the organisation’s chain of communication between January 4th and 5th. Pascal had deployed a distress signal that reached Paris on January 4th, but the race control in Chile was not informed of this until later on the 5th
When medical crews got to the rider they found that he was in the middle of a dense vegetation about fifteen meters from his bike. He had removed his helmet and was sheltered in the shade, with food and water found near him.
Pascal is the 51st rider, back-up personnel, or spectator to be killed during the race since it began in 1979. Over the 30 yearsof the rally some 19 competitors, 17 race personnel, including its founder Thierry Sabine in a helicopter crash in 1986, and at least 15 spectators have died on the course.
Our condolences go out to Terry’s family and friends.