Witnesses said the crash, on a bumpy section of desert, did not appear to be serious. But Kargola, who had been wearing a helmet, was knocked unconscious for about 30 minutes and was said to have also suffered broken ribs and a punctured lung. The exact cause of death has not yet been determined.
Cody Stuart, friend of Kargola's who is part of the event's U.S.-based support team, said a helicopter film crew had been following Kargola and nearby participants in the early stages of the 1,500-mile ride from the border town of Tecate to Cabo San Lucas at Baja's tip. The incident occurred near Diablo Dry Lake, about 50 miles north of San Felipe.
The crew picked up Kargola and delivered him to a small San Felipe hospital. Plans were made to fly Kargola across the Mexico-U.S. border to a trauma center, but he perished before that process began.
Leah Steiger, executive director of the American Freestyle Motocross Assn., told ESPN: "I received a call at 8 a.m. and at that point he was unconscious and we were trying to coordinate a Medevac lift for him. But Medevac has to be able to stabilize you before they can even get you in the air. Unfortunately his injuries were just too great, and he passed at Buen Pastor hospital in San Felipe, Mexico. Now we're just trying to get him home."
Kargola, nicknamed "Ox" because of his large stature, was a member of the Metal Mulisha team of FMX riders, which in 2009 mourned the loss of another popular accident victim, Jeremy Lusk, who died of injuries sustained in a crash during a competition in Costa Rica.