Portuguese motorbike rider Paulo Goncalves has died after a crash during Sunday's Dakar Rally seventh stage, organisers announced. The 40-year-old suffered the fatal accident after 276 kilometres of the day's ride from Riyadh to Wadi Al Dawasir.

"The organisers received an alert at 10:08 (0708 GMT) and dispatched a medical helicopter that reached the biker at 10:16 and found him unconscious after going into cardiac arrest," a statement on the rally's official website reported.

"Following resuscitation efforts in situ, the competitor was taken by helicopter to Layla Hospital, where he was sadly pronounced dead," it added. Goncalves was an experienced Dakar rider, competing in his thirteenth event with Honda.

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Since 1979, 71 people are known to have died as a result of the Dakar rally. Among the 29 competitor fatalities, 20 were motorcycle related, 6 car related, 1 truck related, and 2 competitors died as a result of local rebel conflict. Up to 1992, collision was the most common cause of death among competitors.

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