A 46-year-old man attempting the annual Alcatraz Triathlon died from a reported heart attack this past Sunday (Mar. 3).
According to race officials, the Texas native passed away shortly after diving into the icy waters of the San Francisco Bay.
“We have reason to believe the gentleman suffered from a massive cardiac event as he entered the water and began the swim,” race officials said in a statement.
This was the first death in the 33-year history of the event which begins with a 1.5-mile swim from the former federal prison, followed by an 18-mile bike ride and an 8-mile run through Golden Gate Park. However, organizers say the cold water was not a factor in his death.
“Was it colder than normal? Yes. But in my opinion, the water temperature was not a factor at all in this tragedy,” Bill Burke, the race’s director, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “The gentleman obviously had a heart condition he was unaware of. What happened today was very, very sad,” Burke said. “It underscores that athletes need to be checked carefully by a cardiologist before pushing themselves.”
The unidentified man could not be revived by paramedics.