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Dakar Rally claims third victim

Sapa-AFP

Experienced Belgian motorbike rider Eric Palanta has died while competing in the Dakar Rally - the third fatality of this year's race.

This year's Dakar Rally has already claimed three lives. (AFP)

An experienced Belgian motorbike rider has died competing in this year's Dakar Rally, organisers announced on Friday.

Eric Palante (50) riding for the Honda team, died on Thursday's fifth stage between Chilecito and Tucuman in Argentina.

Palante, in his 11th Dakar, was the third person associated with the gruelling race to die on Thursday after two members of an Argentine news team perished when their car plunged into a ravine.

Dakar organisers ASO issued a statement reporting that a technical support truck had discovered the father of five's lifeless body at 08.30am local time on Friday at the 143km mark of the stage.

"No alert was received by the organisers. Eric had been replenished with water during the afternoon," the statement continued, adding that the fatality would be investigated by a local judge.

Palante, lining up in the amateur motorbike division, is the 23rd competitor in 36 editions to die in the Dakar Rally.

The 1988 edition proved especially infamous with eight fatalities. – Sapa-AFP

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