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French motorcyclist killed on Dakar Rally

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  • French motorcyclist Pascal Terry found dead on Dakar Rally, organizers say
  • Terry went missing on second stage between Santa Rosa and Puerto Madrid
  • Terry, 49, was discovered in dense vegetation with his motorbike found nearby
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(CNN) -- Missing French motorcyclist Pascal Terry has been found dead -- organizers of the Dakar Rally said on Wednesday.

A statement on the race's official Web site www.dakar.com said the announcement of Terry's death was made with "great sadness."

It is the first fatality on this year's Dakar Rally, which has relocated to Argentina and Chile for its 31st edition.

The 49-year-old Terry had gone missing during the second stage on Sunday between Santa Rosa and Puerto Madrid.

He was finally located in the early hours of Wednesday morning as the drivers and motorbikes prepared for the fifth leg from Neuquen to San Rafael.

Terry, who was competing in the grueling rally for the first time, was found in dense vegetation, 15 meters from his bike. He had taken his helmet off and had sought shade, but had food and water with him.

Local police are to carry out an investigation into the cause of his death.

Meanwhile, American Jonah Street won the fifth stage to close the gap on overall motorcycle leader Marc Coma in the general standings.

Street, second overall, beat Dutchman Frans Verhoeven by five minutes 53 seconds, with Chilean Francisco Lopez back in third.

The result meant Street made up over 15 minutes on Coma, after the Spaniard had a puncture at the beginning of the stage, although he still holds a lead of over 27 minutes.

The rally started in Buenos Aires on January 3 and finishes back in the Argentine capital on January 17.

It is being staged in South America for the first time after terrorism threats caused last year's event, traditionally finishing in the Senegalese capital of Dakar, to be called off.

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