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Belgian motorcycle rider Eric Palante found dead at Dakar Rally

Argentina

Belgian motorcycle rider Eric Palante was found dead at the Dakar Rally, an arduous off-road race across rugged terrain in South America, race organizers said Friday.

Palante's body was found Friday morning on a section of the race's fifth stage between Chilecito and San Miguel de Tucuman in Argentina, organizers said in a statement.

"No alert was received by the organizers and Eric's water had been replenished in the afternoon" Thursday, organizers said, adding that the veteran racer's death was under investigation.

Palante, 50, was taking part in his 11th Dakar Rally "and hoped to win the amateur trophy for motorbikes," organizers said. "He knew the race very well and over the years his enthusiastic but serious approach made him one of the pillars of the event."

Two other deaths related to the rally were reported Friday. Police said two people following the race died Thursday when their vehicle overturned in rough terrain in northern Argentina, the Associated Press reported.

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