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Offline mondi

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Reminds me of another Desert crash........  :sadnana:

Monday, August 16, 2010 07:11am

A contestant in a desert race in California lost control of his pickup truck and plowed into a group of spectators, killing eight and injuring at least 12.

The horrific accident occurred at about 7:40pm on Saturday (1240 AEST Sunday) during the California 200, an annual event held in Soggy Dry Lake Bed near the city of Lucerne Valley in the Mojave Desert.

At least four of the injured were in serious condition and were taken by air ambulance to nearby trauma centres, fire department supervisor Tim Franke told reporters on Sunday.

NBC news reported that those killed were all in their twenties or thirties, while an unspecified number of minors were among the injured.

Police did not identify the driver involved in the accident. Local reports said he needed to be escorted away from the area when spectators threatened him and began throwing rocks.

'He got airborne and when he landed, rolled over straight into the spectators,' CHP officer Joaquin Zubieta said in the Los Angeles Times. 'People didn't have much of a chance... to get out of the way.'

According to Los Angeles broadcaster KCAL 9, the accident occurred near the start of the race, when one of the drivers failed to negotiate a jump and veered off the track into the crowd.

News footage showed the vehicle, a white pickup truck plastered with sponsorship decals, flipped on its roof, with at least one body under a white sheet next to the vehicle.

The dry lake is located about 165km northeast of Los Angeles. Drivers race four times around an 80km loop at speeds of up to 100km/h, and the race typically ends before dawn the next day.

Video from last year's California 200 posted on the web shows off-road cars and pick-up trucks roaring past spectators just a few metres away on the sandy, washboard river bed, with nothing more than a rope or thin plastic sheeting between them.

'They had people lined up right along the track -- inches from the track,' an unidentifiedspectator told NBC after Saturday night's crash. 'People are way too close.'

The tragedy is being investigated by the California Highway Patrol (CHP), which sent its major accident investigation team to the scene.

The race is organised each year by Mojave Desert Racing (MDR), a Southern California corporation headquartered in South El Monte.

MDR says on its website it organises 12 desert car races per year for 20 different classes of vehicles, and provides 'an exciting, rewarding, and safe environment for off-road racing in four locations: Barstow, Lucerne Valley, Ridgecrest, and Plaster City.'

A flyer listed on a site indicated that fees to enter the race ranged from $US200 ($A223) to $US440 ($A491).

A total of 87 drivers were registered to take part in Saturday's race, The Times said, adding that hundreds of spectators had gathered around the site where the pickup truck landed.

Offline dodger

  • Tommy Gunna

  • Joined: Dec 2009

  • Location: Melbourne
You get cars travelling flat out over sand dunes with people lining the route a only a few feet either side of the track I'm suprise this doesn't happen at every such event.

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