Woman killed by car in Dakar Rally image

A woman watching the Dakar Rally has died after being struck by a vehicle competing in the race’s first stage. A number of other spectators were also hurt in the incident which involved a 4×4 vehicle driven by German-Swiss duo Mirco Schultis and Ulrich Leardi.

Competitor number 418 (Schultis-Leardi) collided with a group of spectators at the 75km mark of the special stage outside the ‘public zone’ (a secured area reserved for spectators),” said a statement released by the organisers before the fatality was confirmed.

Officials said Natalia Sonia Gallardo, 28, was hit by the DW car of German driver Mirco Schultis, who had lost control of his vehicle around a curve. Leonardo Botto, a security coordinator for the rally, said Gallardo was part of a group that was watching the race from an unauthorized viewing area along the Colon to Cordoba route.

A witness to the accident told the television station TN that fans were standing outside a secure area reserved for spectators.

“There was no place and the police did not stop people,” said the witness, identified as Gaston Harriague. “The fields around there are all private. They are not permitted places.”

Gallardo was taken to hospital in Cordoba but later died of her injuries. The other victims involved suffered slight injuries and are currently in hospital.

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Photos Copyright: Reuters