DAKAR 2009

Spanish rider in 'critical' state after heavy fall

After a heavy fall in the 10th stage, Spanish rider Cristobal Guerrero was rushed to hospital where medical staff say his condition is "critical". The KTM biker fell into a coma after suffering from a brain oedema.

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When reporting on the amateurs in the race, FRANCE 24 spoke with Cristobal Guerrero on the starting line in Buenos Aires. The Spaniard biker was competing in his first Dakar. He waited until he was 48 to make his dream come true.

'When I was younger, my financial situation made it impossible. The situation improved, but by then I was responsible for my family. Now that they are big, I can afford it.” explained Guerrero, father of two motorbike champions.'

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AFP - Spanish rider Cristobal Guerrero was in a coma on Tuesday after a heavy fall in the 10th stage of the Dakar Rally, organisers said and a scan showed that his life was at risk.

Guerrero, riding a KTM, fell at around the 160km of the 430km stage and was taken to Copiapo hospital where he underwent a scan.

The scan according to doctors at the hospital did not give cause for optimism for the 48-year-old father of two, who was in 76th place overall on his first Dakar.

"After undergoing scans doctors assessed his condition to be critical," read a statement from the race organisers.

According to Ana Quiroga, head of the regional health service in Atacama, where the accident took place, he is suffering from a brain oedema and that the next 24 hours would 'be decisive'.

"The most critical time when one has a brain oedema are the first few hours," she said.

"That is why the next 24 hours are crucial in terms of how his condition evolves.

"First of all we must stabilise him. He is in a coma and has lost a lot of blood through his ears."

Guerrero is the third serious accident of this year's edition of the race, following the death of 49-year-old French motorcyclist Pascal Terry and two British competitors were placed in an artificial coma last week.

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