Santosh in induced coma after Dakar crash
Indian rider CS Santosh is in medically induced coma at the Saudi German Hospital in Riyadh following a high-speed crash during the fourth stage of the Dakar Rally on Wednesday. The 37-year-old has no major physical injuries except for a dislocated right shoulder and head trauma.
“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,” Santosh’s team Hero MotoSports said in a statement on Thursday.
“He is receiving the best possible medical care and will continue to be under constant observation for the next few days. The latest scans have also shown no major issue that could impact his full recovery.”
Santosh was injured while riding through the 813km (337km Special Stage) challenge from Wadi Ad-Dawasir to Riyadh. He was immediately attended to by the on-ground medical team and was airlifted to the Saudi Arabia capital.
“We express our deepest gratitude and thanks to the riders who extended their help to Santosh. We also want to thank the organisers for getting the medical and rescue teams on the spot in quick time and airlifting him to reach the hospital quickly,” according to the statement.
The fourth stage of the Dakar is the longest but not the most difficult of rally that began on January 3 and will run till January 15 and is considered the toughest in the world. Santosh, who has completed the rally thrice, was going strong with overall finishing positions of 43rd, 36th and 34th after the first three stages before the premature end to his seventh edition.
In 2019, when the rally was held in South America, too Santosh had crashed and suffered a concussion. His best-ever finish of 34th came in 2018.
Last year, the team decided to pull out from the rally after Santosh’s teammate Paulo Goncalves died from injuries sustained during a fall in the seventh stage. Goncalves had also crashed during the same stretch but when the rallyists were travelling from Riyadh to Wadi Ad-Dawasir. Dutchman Edwin Straver, 48, also died last year, eight days after crashing.
They were the first two casualties of the Dakar since Pole Michal Hernik in 2015 in Argentina. Two non-competitors were also killed in 2016 in crashes with vehicles.
This is the 43rd edition of the Dakar, convening and culminating in Jeddah. The course runs 7,646km of which 4,767km will be competitive and is divided into 12 stages.
Indians Harith Noah—in his second Dakar attempt—of Sherco Factory team was 38th after Stage 5 and debutant Ashish Raorane, a privateer, 80th after Stage 4 overall.