Official TSO press release. 01.19.2000
The accident this morning at around 07.30, at km 63 of the special, involved 4 vehicles: No 254 (Shinozuka - Serieys), No 257 (Prieto - Maimon), No 260 (Sousa -Luz), and No 269 (De Mevius - Delli Zotti).
The 4 cars were off-piste, 1 km to the left of the ideal route indicated on the road book. The first competitor to arrive on the scene of the accident was No 252 (Saby-Truelle) who was equipped with an HF link to a TV helicopter.
Bruno Saby estimates that the incident occurred less than 30 seconds before he arrived. The 4 cars seem to have jumped over a dune at high speed and landed violently on the other side. Apparently it was No 260 who hit the dune first. According to the driver of No 269, Gregoire De Mevius, his car rolled 4 or 5 times. No 254 and 257 landed further over to the left.
The alert was given by the TV helicopter at 07.30. The first medical helicopter arrived at the site of the accident at 07.55., the second at 07.57. A press helicopter arrived at 08.05 after having dropped off its photographers and picked up a medical team that were situated 10 km from the incident.
All the injured - the eight competitors who made up the 4 crews - were taken to the medical station at Waha by the three helicopters. At 12.00 their evacuation by ambulance plane to the University Hospital Centre in Tunis began, for further examinations, essential before being transported to hospitals closer to their respective homes. The diagnosis of the 8 injured is as follows: - 2 in a critical condition: Carlos Sousa and his team mate Joao Manuel Luz; - 1 in a serious condition: Dominique Serieys; - The 5 other injured are not currently cause for serious concern, but they need to undergo a complete examination before any prognostic can be given.