AUGUSTA, G.A. (WJBF) – The Richmond County Coroner’s Office says one man is dead following the swim relay of the IRONMAN race Sunday morning.
“Something happened in the water,” said Ranata Comelli.
Augusta’s IRONMAN 70.3 made its grand return early Sunday morning, but not everyone crossed the finish line.
“We were at the transition where the take out is with the swimming and all we saw was the boat come in,” John Osborne, a local whose son was competing in the race,” said.
“They postponed the race for a little bit to clear the water out,” added Comelli.
Investigators say an athlete died during the swimming relay of the IRONMAN race. People watching say they saw the man being pulled out of the water. “He was obviously in distress they were doing compressions on him when they were bringing him to the dock and then when they were taking him out,” said Osborne.
He was then taken to the Augusta University Medical Center where he died. Augusta IRONMAN organizers released this statement on their Facebook page.
“We are incredibly saddened to confirm the death of a race participant at the IRONMAN 70.3 Augusta. The athlete received immediate medical attention upon swim safety personnel being alerted of the distressed athlete during the swim portion of Sunday’s race. We share our greatest sympathies with the family and friends of the athlete and will continue to offer them our support as they go through this very difficult time. We thank the swim safety personnel and first responders who worked quickly to provide the athlete with medical support.”
The competition features a 1.2-mile swim in the Savannah River, followed by a 56-mile bike ride, and ends with a 13. 1-mile run. Jimmy Copeland a local pastor says his son was competing in the triathlon.
“He stopped to help him out and support him and revive him,” said Copeland.
Several injuries were reported during the IRONMAN race including one athlete collapsing while transitioning from the bike portion to the run. People who came to watch the race say it isn’t dangerous but there are risks. “I don’t think so, I don’t think so, I mean people push their limits. They know what they’re doing when they get into it so they’re going to push it,” said Comelli.
“Not really, there’s risks in everything you do,” said Osborne.
An autopsy is scheduled for early this week. The athlete’s identity has not yet been released.
Check back for updates. We will continue to update this article as we learn more.