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Four children among injured as Dakar Rally car smashes into spectators

A 10-year-old boy and his father were rushed to hospital after the horrific crash in Argentina.

An injured man is taken away by emergency personnel after the horrific incident.
An injured man is taken away by emergency personnel after the horrific incident.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

A 10-YEAR-OLD BOY and his father were seriously injured when a car smashed into spectators during the prologue of the Dakar Rally yesterday.

In total 10 people — all spectators which included four children and a pregnant woman — were hurt in the accident on the first day of the endurance race.

“The joint resources of the organisation and local forces have taken over and evacuated four injured, including two seriously affected,” organisers said today.

“Police have indicated that six more lightly injured have been transferred to hospital.”

The incident, which involved the Mini Cooper of female Chinese driver Guo Meiling, saw the prologue — which takes place before today’s first stage which has been cancelled due to poor weather — immediately suspended in horrific scenes.

Guo’s car veered off the course at the 6.6km mark of the 11-km prologue on a stretch of straight country road near Arrecifes, a small town 200km from the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires.

Race chiefs immediately deployed four medical helicopters, three medical vehicles belonging to the organisers and eight local ambulances to the scene.

A 34-year-old man and his son, aged 10, were the two most serious cases and had to be rushed to hospital with one suffering head injuries and the other chest trauma, said race director Etienne Lavigne.

The injured were brought to hospital at Arrecifes, with the two more seriously injured later transferred to a hospital at Pilar, 50km from Buenos Aires.

Argentina Dakar China's Guo Meiling,sits in the car after an accident. Source: AP/Press Association Images

The accident left Guo’s car battered, its bonnet strewn on the ground, as emergency workers carted the injured off on stretchers.

An inquiry has been opened by local authorities with the Chinese team to be questioned by police.

Between 50,000 and 60,000 people were expected along the route of the prologue.

In 2015, Polish motorbike rider Michal Hernik died at the end of a stage, but the last accident involving spectators at the Dakar Rally was in 2011, when one person was killed.

- © AFP, 2016

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