Two participants tragically passed away at the IRONMAN African Championship in Port Elizabeth during the swim leg of the race on Hobie Beach.
The victims have been identified as Leon Stanvliet (63) from George and Andre Trichardt (58) from Durban.
In an official statement, the organisers of the renowned sporting event confirmed the deaths.
“It is with great sadness that we confirm the death of two race participants at the IRONMAN African Championship. Both athletes required medical attention during the swim portion of Sunday’s race and were transported to a nearby hospital where they were treated. Our condolences go out to the family and friends of both athletes, whom we will continue to support. We are working with the local authorities to gather all details and will continue to do everything possible to provide a safe environment for our athletes.”
Police spokesperson Colonel Priscilla Naidu told HeraldLIVE that the deaths of Stanvliet and Trichardt happened a mere 10 minutes apart, adding that both competitors were confirmed dead when they arrived at the hospital. Naidu said the cause of death is still undetermined.
“At this stage, we are awaiting the postmortem results to determine the exact causes of death. No foul play is believed to be part of the incidents and two inquest cases are under investigation,” she said.
Reports state that Stanvliet suffered from convulsions during the swim while Trichardt may have experienced a heart-related issue while swimming.
#Swim was shortened from 3.8 km to 1.6 km due to choppy conditions.
Two deaths (1 Heart attack,1 Convulsions)#SBIronman #AMAfricanChamps
IRONMAN South Africa released the statement below. https://t.co/QEk65FJR1l
— Rodrigo Zacca, Ph.D (@RodrigoZacca) April 7, 2019
Both were taken out of the water by rescuers but attempts to resuscitate the two failed.
Cape Town ETC sends condolences to their families during this time.
We are deeply saddened by the news of the two Standard Bank Ironman competitors who lost their lives during the swimming leg of the competition at Hobie Beach in PE this morning. Our hearts go out to their families and loved ones. #SBIronman @IMSouthAfrica.
— Standard Bank SA (@StandardBankZA) April 7, 2019
Picture: IRONMAN South African, Facebook