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Dakar motorcyclist Eric Palant dies

The Belgian motorcyclist's body was found by officials on Friday after he failed to finish the 5th stage.

Organisers said they received no alert of Palant and were concerned after he failed to make it to the finish on Thursday.

ARGENTINA, Salta - Belgian motorcyclist Eric Palant's body was found by officials on Friday after he failed to finish the fifth stage.

The organisers said they received no alert of Palant and were concerned after he failed to make it to the finish on Thursday.

Fellow Dakar competitor Charlie Gottlieb remembers his friend and countryman.

"Eric Palant was a very very nice guy, always a smile, even in the worst worst situation he was always smiling and very positive guy doing his eleventh Dakar.

"He was hoping to get what they call the Malle Moto trophy, which is for the special biking category. He's leaving five kids behind, and it's terrible for the family."

"Palant always did the Dakar alone on a motorbike without support. This was his eleventh Dakar.

"Personally I don't understand how it can happen because we are really compelled to have all this very high tech equipment with us for our safety which we pay a lot of money for which gives the organisation our position. On the meter they know exactly where we are.

"On the meter they know exactly where we are and this guy was left alone in the wilderness overnight.

"The same thing happened three years ago, a motorcyclist was left for the night, in the black dunes of Argentina, he stopped for the night, when they found him the next day, he was dead.

"It's something I really can't accept from the organisation. They can tell me what they want, that he didn't send an alarm, whatever.

"The official communique was that he was left with water on the day, so they knew exactly where he was and they sent the truck to pick him up the day after.

"But why do you leave a motorbiker alone in the wilderness? It's very hard for me to accept that."

In a separate incident two people following the race died on Thursday when their vehicle overturned in rough terrain.

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