According to Reuters, citing the team and race organizers, the explosion hit a support vehicle of the French team Sodicars, which caused the driver Philippe Boutron to be injured shortly after leaving the Jeddah hotel for the race route.
According to Reuters, French prosecutors said on Tuesday that they had launched a terrorist investigation into the bombing.
The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the French driver of the car was “seriously injured”, while the five passengers were also French and “unharmed.”
Sodicars said the driver was returned to Percy Military Hospital in Kramat on Monday.
Sodicas said: “He was taken care of by the medical team immediately, in the hands of experts and accompanied by his family. The explosion broke his leg and was artificially unconscious to relieve his pain.” A copy released on Tuesday In the statement.
Sports reporter Benoit Boutron, the son of the injured driver, told French radio station RMC that his father was in a coma.
“What happened was very serious. He was seriously injured. The information I can give you is that he is in a coma, so this is already the first step. In this kind of accident, you have to take it step by step.
“His legs were indeed seriously injured. We will know more in ten days. Tell me, we must be cautious now.”
At the same time, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement warning that “the threat of terrorism in Saudi Arabia continues. It is recommended to maintain maximum vigilance in daily life, especially during travel.”
“Saudi authorities are investigating to determine the cause of the explosion. The assumption of criminal conduct is not ruled out,” the ministry said in a statement on January 1.
CNN has contacted the Saudi Arabian Media Department for comments.
The Dakar Rally was held in Europe and Africa from 1979 to 2007, but after the 2008 event was cancelled due to safety issues, the rally was moved to South America and the Middle East in 2020.
The Dakar Rally has traditionally five main vehicle categories: cars, motorcycles, trucks, UTV and quad bikes.
“Something is wrong”
Boutron’s colleague Mayeul Barbet, who was in the car at the time of the incident, told French radio station RMC that the team left the hotel to prepare for the car as usual.
“We drove 500 meters, and then there was an explosion. You are gone, we don’t know what happened, a big explosion.”
“After the explosion, I was stuck on the roof of the car, so this is not normal… In the car accident, we were thrown to the front, but I was actually thrown to the ceiling. So I knew something was wrong in my mind,” he said. “The atmosphere in the car was quite chaotic, the airbags were deployed… so we got off the car quickly. But before we got off the car, Philip said something to me, he said,’Mayel, you have to get me out. So, I know he is hurt.”
Babette, who helped Butron get out of the car, said: “I saw that his leg was really injured. I initially decided to leave him in the car to avoid moving him.
“We made the first tourniquet so that he wouldn’t bleed a lot. In fact, the car started to catch fire. So we decided to rescue him, put him in a safe place and take care of him.”
Babette said that when the passengers got out of the car, they thought they had an accident and wanted to find another car, but realized that “there is nothing around us. We are alone in the middle of the road.”
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