Dakar Rally: Indian rider CS Santosh suffers crash, in medically-induced coma

The 37-year-old Santosh, who was representing the Hero MotoSports, crashed on Wednesday and is being kept under 24-hour observation.

Hero Motorsports Team Rally's C.S. Santosh in action.   -  TWITTER

Indian motorcycle racer C. S. Santhosh suffered a crash during the ongoing Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia and was put in a medically induced coma after being airlifted to a hospital in Riyadh.

The 37-year-old, who was representing Hero MotoSports at the world’s biggest rally race, crashed on Wednesday and is being kept under observation for 24 hours.

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Santhosh, who was reportedly conscious when paramedics arrived on the scene before he was rushed to Riyadh, is suspected to have suffered a head injury in the crash, which took place on a gravel track around 135km into the stage.

The incident occurred at the same stage where Hero MotoSports rider Paulo Goncalves died while competing in the 2020 Dakar Rally. Hero MotoSports withdrew from the rally after Goncalves’ death.

"We are pleased to share that he has no major physical injuries except for the dislocated right shoulder and head trauma. The latest scans have also shown no major issue that could impact his full recovery," Hero MotoSports said in a statement.

"The medical team attending to him have decided that the best approach to manage the injury is to reduce the body functions to a minimum and keep him in a sedated condition or an artificial coma.

"He is receiving the best possible medical care and will continue to be under constant observation for the next few days," it added.

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This was Santosh’s seventh attempt at the Dakar Rally, considered the world’s most gruelling off-road motorsports event. He was the first Indian to complete the race in 2015, an effort he replicated in two further editions.

Santosh had a near-fatal accident during the 2013 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, suffering burns to his neck after his Suzuki MX450X caught fire.

The January 2-16 Dakar rally is divided into 12 stages and has competitors traversing 7,646km. Stage 4, during which Santhosh’s crash took place, was the longest stage at 813km.

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