Spectator dead, 2 people injured in Australian off-road race

·2 min read

ALICE SPRINGS, Australia (AP) — A spectator was killed and two people were injured after an accident involving a racing vehicle in the Finke Desert Race in central Australia on Monday.

Motorsport Australia issued a statement saying police in the Northern Territory confirmed a man died following the incident that occurred about 35 kilometers (22 miles) from the finish of the 460-kilometer off-road race.

“Motorsport Australia extends its sympathies to the families, friends and all those impacted by today’s events.”

The national governing body for auto racing in Australia said it would investigate the incident and assist police investigation, but couldn’t comment further.

Australian Associated Press reported a man in his 60s died at the scene and another spectator, a man in his 50s, was taken to the Royal Adelaide Hospital in South Australia state for treatment. He was reported to be in a stable condition.

The navigator of the vehicle, a woman in her 50s, received minor injuries and was treated at a nearby hospital. The car section of the race was canceled.

The Finke Desert Race is a two-day off-road, multi-terrain race for motorcycles, cars, buggies and quads through desert country between Alice Springs and the town of Aputula, also known as Finke, every June.

The event website describes the Finke Desert Race as one of the biggest annual sports events in the Northern Territory with “a reputation for being one of the most difficult off-road courses in one of the most remote places in the world.”

Organizers say the course runs through an Outback terrain of red dirt, sand, spinifex, mulga and desert oaks.

In April this year, three drivers died in crashes within a 24-hour span in the 2,000-kilometer (1,200-mile) Targa Tasmania rally on Australia's southern island state.

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