The race is considered one of the most dangerous in the motor sport calendar [EPA]

Argentine bike rider Jorge Martinez Boero died on Sunday following a crash on the first day of the Dakar Rally, a 15-day race that stretches across South America from Argentina to Peru.

Police officials said Martinez Boero died as he was being transported by helicopter to a hospital in Mar del Plata.

Details of the crash were not immediately available, but reports said he died from head and chest injuries.

The Dakar Rally began Sunday with racers embarking on the first leg from the Atlantic coastal city of Mar del Plata to Santa Rosa, Argentina.

The race, considered one of the most dangerous in motor sports, ends on January 15 in Lima, Peru.

Martinez Boero, 38, was participating in his second Dakar Rally.

This is the fourth consecutive year the event is being held in South America.

The rally was held in Africa until 2007 but moved for security reasons to South America in 2009. The race was not held in 2008.

Source: AP