January 06, 2015

LA RIOJA, Argentina (AP) Organizers say a competitor in the Dakar Rally has died of unknown causes.

Dakar said Tuesday on its website that Michal Hernik, 39, from Poland, died during the third stage of the race between San Juan and Chilecito, Argentina.

The circumstances of his death have not yet been determined. His death is the first in this year's Dakar rally.

When Hernik's tracking signal was lost, a search began for the rider at 3:23 p.m. local time, according to the statement. An ambulance helicopter found the rider about 325 yards from the route about 30 minutes later.

It was Hernik's first time participating in the race.

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