Two die in Ironman triathlon as witness says ‘race should never have gone ahead’

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    Two men died while taking part in the "brutal" swimming leg of an Ironman triathlon event in Ireland with disruption from Storm Betty that made the water "choppy".

    The storm had been battering County Cork, where the event was taking place, and conditions were "brutal" as competitors took to the water, a witness said.

    The men, one aged in his 40s and the other in his 60s, died in separate incidents during the swimming segment of the triathlon held in the town of Youghal.

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    Cork Beo reported that the men were pulled from the water by emergency services before being pronounced dead by medical personnel.

    One man who had travelled from Northern Ireland to watch his brother perform said that the conditions were "mad".

    "It was a bit mad. Conditions were brutal for the swim," he told the Daily Star.

    In his speech after coming second, his brother said: "The swim was something else, it was choppy."

    The brother told the Star that he reckons people who werent as strong at swimming compared to cyling and running would have been "sh*****g it" looking at the water.

    He said: "I'm a strong swimmer but I'd say there would be a lot of people sh*****g it. I've seen triathlon swim cancelled in calmer conditions."

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    One of the participants is understood to have suffered a medical emergency in the harbour at the end of the swimming leg of the race.

    The competitor told the Star: "Few stories going about the town that one person had a stroke and the other got into difficulty with another swimmer. No idea whether either of that is true."

    Gardai believe there was no foul play and are treating the deaths as a tragic incident.

    A spokesperson said: "Gardai and emergency services are currently attending the scene of an incident in Youghal Co. Cork where two men have died at a sporting event this morning.

    "Two men, aged 40s and 60s, were removed from the water by emergency services.

    "They were pronounced deceased by medical personnel. The coroner has been notified. The organisers had decided to move the swim course further into the harbour and shorten it because of bad weather conditions."

    One of the deceased is believed to be an Irish man who had been living in the UK for some time, while the other is understood to be a man from Canada who had travelled here for the competition, reports Cork Beo.

    The weekend competition is continuing despite the double tragedy.

    In a statement, the event organisers said: "We are deeply saddened to confirm the death of two race participants at the IRONMAN 70.3 Ireland, Cork 2023.

    "During the swim portion of Sunday’s race, safety personnel provided immediate medical attention upon recognising the athletes were in need of assistance.

    "We share our greatest sympathies with the families and friends of the athletes and will continue to offer them our support as they go through this very difficult time.

    "We thank the safety personnel and first responders who worked quickly to provide the athletes with medical assistance."

    The triathlon started at 7am this morning, and over 2,000 athletes are taking part.

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