Helicopter rips roof of Russian team's truck in mid-air collision as Dakar rally in Saudi Arabia claims yet another crash (VIDEO)
Marathon race the Dakar rally has witnessed yet more danger and drama after a truck driven by Anton Shibalov, of the victorious Russian Kamaz-Master team, hit an organizers' helicopter in mid-air during a jump on the final day.
In a freak mid-air collision that was caught on camera, the truck was torn by the helicopter as it flew low and the vehicle sprung into the air while Shibalov was racing along the sands in Saudi Arabia, damaging the roof.
The accident came at the end of a fortnight of adrenaline-fueled action across the vast course that saw Indian motorcyclist CS Santosh placed into a coma after a crash and French competitor Pierre Cherpin die from head injuries.
"Anton Shibalov's car arrived at the finish line with a torn open air intake on the roof of the body," Eric Khairullin, of Shibalov's team, told RIA Novosti.
"It looked rather strange. It turned out that the organizers' helicopter hovered too low over the track and at some point, when the truck rushing at speed, threw it up, apparently, [hitting] a helicopter, which, of course, is very dangerous.
"Fortunately, everything worked out. This is a question of organizing the safety of flights of organizing helicopters during the competition."
Former runner-up Dmitry Sotnikov won the truck category of the rally for the first time in his career on Friday, having been in the lead after all 12 stages of the race.Also on rt.com Dakar Rally 2021: Motorcycle rider Pierre Cherpin dies from head injuries after horror crash that left amateur Frenchman in coma
Kamaz-Master took a clean sweep on the truck podium, with Shibalov in second and teammate Ayrat Mardeev finishing third as part of the outfit's fifth straight overall triumph.
On their 30th appearance at Dakar, the team recorded an 18th win after almost 5,000 miles of racing.
Sotnikov finished in 48 hours, 23 minutes and 21 seconds, with Shibalov almost 40 minutes behind him and Mardeev around 75 minutes further back.Also on rt.com Disaster in the desert: Indian motorcycle ace CS Santosh placed in a COMA after huge crash at Dakar Rally