Injured Gareth out of hospital, sidelined for a year
- Gareth Dawe, the navigator of Onka Rai who survived an near fatal freak accident in their Skoda Fabia during the last day of the 2018 ARC Safari Rally is back at home walking on his own after spending three weeks in hospital with a broken back.
- Last week he discarded the zimmer frame which aided him in walking
Gareth Dawe, the navigator of Onka Rai who survived an near fatal freak accident in their Skoda Fabia during the last day of the 2018 ARC Safari Rally is back at home walking on his own after spending three weeks in hospital with a broken back.
Last week he discarded the zimmer frame which aided him in walking since undergoing a successful operation and is now attending physiotherapy and recuperating at home. “It was a freak accident,” said Dawe today but he thanked his God for being able to walk again.
Dawe will be out of rally action at least for a year following the doctor’s advice and medication timetable but he is not overawed by the accident.
On March 18, only a few kilometres before the end of the last competitive stage Kedong, Dawe recalls they were motoring really fast with the purpose of cancelling the 13 seconds between them and event leader Car Tundo in a Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X.
The car creased over a brow before hitting a bank at high speed. Dawe knew he was injured, Rai instantaneously pressed the “red button”, a panic gadget which immediately sends an SOS signal to the rally headquarters in time of life threatening emergency like that day via GSM system.
Clerk of Course Gurvir Bhabra and the entire crew at HQ knew something serious had happened after the tracking signal on the car stopped abruptly and an 11.74 Gravity Force registered on the WRC Standard tracking system. “ The force compressed everybody and everything including the car, an unfortunate accident nobody is to blame,” he calls.
This force is enough to buckle the chassis of a normal car. Luckily the car did not cat-wheel or roll but it was extensively damaged.
The first responder ambulance was only 800 metres away and rushed to the scene. The rally was stopped immediately. Next the medical evacuation helicopter was on its way to the accident scene.
Dawe recalled that though groggy, the medical team was absolutely “fantastic. The doctor had the right equipment and stablised me inside the car and delicately they removed me and loaded me in the helicopter.”
He was at Nairobi Hospital within an hour. This action impressed the WRC Promoter Oliver Ciesla who said that though he was not in Kenya to observe the safety aspect of the event he was non-the-less extremely impressed.
Rai said he was happy his navigator was fine and they will soon back to action.
Dawe,43, is the Procurement manager at Timsales Limited. He started rallying in 1995 in Zimbabwe, his former country and the accident has not diminished his love of rallying. It was simply another day in office, he concluded.
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