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Deadly mudslide scraps Dakar Rally ninth stage

By AFP | 11 January 2017


SALTA (Argentina): A massive mudslide in northwestern Argentina that killed two people and forced more than 1,000 to evacuate has led Dakar Rally organiSers to scrap today's ninth stage.

The stage was to have run from Salta to Chilecito in Argentina's Jujuy province in the Andes, about 4,000 metres above sea level. But the mudslide near the village of Volcan left the rally portion cancelled.

The mudslide killed a man and woman caught by surprise early Tuesday and left at least 100 families without homes. Many more locals had to leave their housing, which was rendered unlivable for now.

The rally's Salta to Chilecito stretch is the hardest of the run, with 98% of it off-road. An alternative route and timing were being worked out, organizers said.

"Tomorrow (Wednesday) will be dedicated to regrouping all the race's resources in Chilecito so that the event can continue by starting the 10th stage, Chilecito-San Juan" on Thursday, organisers said in a statement.

It is the second stage to be wiped out in five days after Saturday's sixth stage was also forced to be abandoned.

Torrential rain has wreaked havoc on this year's competition and left competitors stranded on the roads used during Tuesday's stage.

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