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Polish rider dies in Argentina during Dakar Rally

January 7, 2015

LA RIOJA, Argentina (AP) — A Polish motorcyclist competing in the Dakar Rally has died of unknown causes, organizers said Tuesday.

Michal Hernik, 39, from Poland, died during the third stage of the race between San Juan and Chilecito, Argentina, Dakar said in a special bulletin on its website.

Hernik showed no signs of an accident and the circumstances of his death have not yet been determined. His death is the first in this year’s Dakar rally.

When Hernik’s tracking signal was lost, a search began for the rider at 3:23 p.m. local time, according to the statement. An ambulance helicopter found the rider about 300 meters from the route about 30 minutes later.

Gregory Murac, foreign relations director for the rally, said the cause of Hernik’s death still needs to be determined and that a judicial process has been started in Argentina.

It was Hernik’s first time participating in the race.

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