AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Dutch motorcycle rider Edwin Straver has died after crashing on the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia last week, local media reported on Friday.
The 48-year-old is the second rider to die as a result of a fall during this year’s gruelling event, held for the first time in the Middle East.
Portuguese rider Paulo Goncalves died after a crash in the seventh stage.
Goncalves, 40, was the first competitor to die in the endurance event since Polish motorcycle rider Michal Hernik in Argentina in 2015.
RTL and regional public broadcaster Omroep Brabant said Straver had died overnight as a result of injuries suffered during the 11th and penultimate stage over desert dunes from Shubaytah to Haradh on Jan. 16.
Media reports said Straver broke one of his upper neck vertebrae during the fall, and had no heartbeat for 10 minutes before being resuscitated.
He was flown by helicopter to Riyadh before being transferred in a coma to the Netherlands this week.
Straver had been competing in his third Dakar on a privately-entered KTM in a category without assistance crews but basic resources provided by organisers.
The Dakar Rally, originally conceived as a race from Paris to the Senegalese capital in West Africa, has claimed dozens of lives — many of them non-competitors — since it started in 1978.
It involves amateurs and professionals competing in a range of categories including cars, trucks, quads and side-by-side UTV vehicles as well as motorcycles.
Straver is the third Dutch competitor to die after motorcycle rider Bert Oosterhuis in 1982 and truck navigator Kees van Loevezijn in 1988.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Toby Davis