New Zealand long course pro Kyle Smith, the winner at IRONMAN 70.3 Ireland last weekend in Cork, has offered his condolences to the friends and families of the two participants who tragically died during the swim portion of the middle distance event on Sunday.
Ivan Chittenden, from Toronto in Canada, was named as one of the victims, with the 65-year-old having decided to participate in the event whilst on holiday in Ireland. The second victim, 44-year-old Brendan Wall, was originally from Ireland and had travelled over from his home in Solihull, England to compete.
Both men were pronounced dead after being removed from the water and safety personnel having provided immediate medical attention upon recognising the athletes were in need of assistance.
“As a triathlon family we lost two of our own”
Smith, who finished his first race since May as he took the win this weekend, shared his support for the loved ones of those who lost their lives at the event in County Cork, describing the incident as one that affected the entire “triathlon family”.
“My deepest condolences go out to the friends and family of the two athletes who passed away. As a triathlon family we lost two of our own at the event,” he said.
The tragedy, which took place during the swim portion of the race, is currently being investigated, with a post-mortem being carried out. The race, which was meant to go ahead on Saturday, was pushed back 24 hours due to debris left on the bike course by Storm Betty.
On Sunday morning, the swim start was again pushed back due to the conditions and the IRONMAN race was reduced to a 1.9km swim leg, the same as the middle distance. Videos circulating on social media, show strong winds and choppy conditions off the coast, where the swim took place.
IRONMAN and IRONMAN Ireland are yet to issue a statement or further information on the tragic accident after confirming the deaths yesterday.