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East Lancashire Dakar Rally man home after death smash nightmare
AN East Lancashire man who was involved in a horror crash while taking part in the Dakar Rally has arrived back in England.
Justin Birchall, who broke four ribs in a fatal road accident on January 9, was greeted by his wife Louise after touching down at Heathrow Airport yesterday morning.
Despite his vehicle having to retire from the race, two members of his Race2Recovery crew made history by becoming the first disability team to complete the famous off-road event.
The 40-year-old dad-of-three spent four nights in hospital as a result of the three-car crash in Tacna, Peru, which killed two people.
After arriving in London, Mr Birchall posted photos on Twitter showing him to be in Wildcat Road, which shares the name of his rally vehicle.
The driver, who is a director at Hapton-based firm Birchall Foodservice, was expected back at his family home last night to see daughters Courtney, Sigourney and Alicia.
The gruelling rally began in Peru on January 5 and finished in Santiago, Chile, last Saturday. Peruvian authorities are still investigating the crash, which saw Mr Birchall’s Land Rover support vehicle hit a taxi head-on.
A second taxi also crashed trying to avoid the initial collision.
Mr Birchall was asleep in the back seat when the accident happened at around 9.30pm local time.
Team mechanic Lee Townsend, from Yate, near Bristol, and retired Army Major John Winskill, 42, a logistics expert from Durrington, near Salisbury, Wiltshire, also suffered neck and back injuries.
The 28-strong Race2 Recovery team is hoping to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for war veterans’ charities in America and the United Kingdom.
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