Manali: Subhamoy Paul, a rider from Kolkata who was competing in Moto-Quads Extreme category of the 18th Raid de Himalaya rally , died on the spot after he lost control of his motorbike and hit a huge boulder near Chhatru on Kaza-Keylong road on Tuesday .
A pall of gloom descended on the rally participants, even as the organizers began considering calling off the six-day event on its third day due to the sudden death. Paul, who underwent professional training abroad in riding, had started off the third leg of the rally from Kaza tto Sarchu via Koksar and Keylong on Tuesday morning. He crossed 14,000ft high Kunzum pass and was close to the Rohtang foothill when the accident happened on a narrow patch of the road.
Support staff and ambulance reached the victim within minutes of the accident.Paul was given CPR (an emergency procedure that combines chest compression often with artificial ventilation to manually preserve intact brain function in a person who is in cardiac) but he could not be revived. His body was airlifted by a support helicopter and brought to Manali.
It was the third day of the rally which had started off from Manali on October 9 with 158 participants. Subhamoy finished the first day at 23rd position. This year the rally has 80 entries for bikes extreme category , 30 for cars extreme category and 48 entries for adventure trial category . The event has 18 women rallysts and 10 teams from the Indian Army.
The rally route is very challenging, starting from Manali to Kaza (Spiti) and then to Leh and back to Manali, covering total distance of about 1,700km in six days.Sources said that the remaining competitors for extreme category had reached Sarchu and participants of adventure trial category were in Kaza.
Paul was riding KTM 500 EXC and was one of the challenging contenders for the title. According to organizers, he had rehearsed a lot for this event. Sources with the event said that the rally can be called off. However, adventure trial category may continue. None of the organizers could be contacted due to limited connectivity in Lahaul-Spiti.