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Sunday, January 20, 2013
Two die in Ironman swim
The two men from Gauteng died after having heart attacks. The event has been running for six years and these are the first deaths.
21 January 2013 | JEVANNE GIBBS
CONDOLENCES continue to pour in for the two Ironman 70.3 participants who died yesterday morning during the swim portion of the event in East London.
Event sponsors World Endurance Africa’s managing director Keith Bowler and Spec-Savers CEO Bryan Dowley, along with Buffalo City’s Executive Mayor Zukiswa Ncitha expressed condolences to the friends and family of the athletes.
“At our first Buffalo City meeting we will have a minute of silence in respect to the athletes and their families,” said Ncitha.
“It is the first time that such a tragedy has occurred and we hope it will be the last.”
The event’s chief doctor Izak Maree confirmed that the athletes, 29 and 37, from Gauteng, had suffered cardiac respiratory arrest about one kilometre into their individual swims.
Eyewitness Elmari Swart said boats brought the two men to shore where medics tried to resuscitate them.
“It was heartbreaking to see,” said Swart. “I was shaking ... I was hoping they were okay but sadly not. But they lived life to the full.”
The two athletes were transported to St Dominic’s Hospital for further specialist investigation. After reassessment at the hospital, they were pronounced dead. The men died within 30 minutes of each other. Their names will be released once their next-of-kin are informed.
Event organisers confirmed that both athletes had no reported history of cardiac or other medical conditions in terms of the health details that the athletes reported to Ironman 70.3 SA.
Officials said the deaths had been the first in the event’s six-year history.
The local deaths follow that of Hong Kong police superintendent Andy Naylor who died after developing “unspecified medical problems” during the swim portion of the Ironman triathlon in New York in August last year.
The US Triathlon Fatality Incidents Study reports that 43 athlete deaths were recorded between 2003 and 2011.
The report stated that 30 deaths occurred in the swim portion; three during the bike portion; three during the run and two after the race.
Five of the deaths were considered as “traumatic” due to injuries from cycling crashes.
Minneapolis Heart Institute cardiologist Kevin Harris told Scientific American that death in the swim in a triathlon made sense as adrenaline surges on entering the water.
COMMENTS BY SONNY
It is unfortunate that two more athletes should die in such a short space of time.
Let's pray that the Post Mortems will not reveal 'performance enhancement drugs' in their systems.
Weather conditions were perfect for such a strenuous race.
OUR SINCERE CONDOLENCES GO OUT TO THEIR FRIENDS AND FAMILIES.
They had not just entered the water when these deaths occurred.
What caused such trauma?