Ga. triathlon proves fatal

Sunday, May 20, 2012 4:07 PM
Last updated Friday, Jan. 4, 2013 10:18 PM
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JEKYLL ISLAND, Ga. -- A participant in the swim portion of the Turtle Crawl Triathlon on Jekyll Island died Saturday, the Georgia State Patrol said.

The 44-year-old man suffered an apparent cardiac arrest and was rescued from the water by event lifeguards, said Eric Garvey, spokesman for the Jekyll Island Authority.

EMTs from the Jekyll Island Fire Department met the lifeguards on the beach and began performing CPR immediately, Garvey said.

The Georgia State Patrol said the EMTs responded at 8:15 a.m.

The man was transported to Southeast Georgia Health System’s Brunswick hospital where he was pronounced dead, Garvey said.

Garvey noted that four to six other swimmers were assisted, which he said is normal for a swim in open water, and none were emergency situations.

The state patrol, which will be the reporting agency in the death, said it did not yet have the man’s identity and was uncertain of whether his next of kin was aware of his death.

The Turtle Crawl offers competitors a choice of Sprint or longer Olympic distances. Competitors in the Sprint competition swim a quarter mile and those in the Olympic competition swim about 1.5 miles. In addition to a bicycle ride, there are also 5 and 10 kilometer runs.

The other events were completed without incident, Garvey said.

The Jekyll Island Turtle Crawl Triathlon is in its 10th year and typically draws about 700 competitors in May.

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CobaltGeorge 05/20/12 - 04:31 pm
I believe that a "Clean Bill

I believe that a "Clean Bill Of Health" from a doctor should be required befor allowing anyone to participate in these type of events.

ALS277 05/20/12 - 05:49 pm
Safety First

I was one of the 5 swimmers that had to be rescued and I was on the boat with this man. The water was very rough and took a turn for the worse in minutes. Even the boat was taking on water. This was the part of the course where the swim is supposed to get easier because of the current. This was not the case. It was very rough and no matter what stroke you did water was splashing over your head. There were people screaming for help in every direction. It was the scariest experience of my life. According to the driver of the boat we were caught in a rip current. This man was treading water allowing others to be rescued before him. His kindness cost him his life. I saw what happened and it did not look like cardiac arrest to me. The lifeguard and the boat were struggling to get to him because he had drifted the farthest away. They did the best they could! He was a victim of wave after wave with no relief and he went under. The lifeguard got to him but he had been face down for about 10-20 seconds. She was amazing and got him to the boat within seconds. When they got him in the boat he had a pulse but by the time we got to shore he did not.

There were not enough safety precautions in place. There was ONE boat and about 400 swimmers. There were a few kayaks and a few lifeguards. I do want to say those lifeguards were AMAZING! I don't know how they did it. There were rumors of the swim being cancelled due to the rough water and it should have been. We entered the water as the tide was shifting to low tide and a tropical depression was off the coast. This makes no sense!

raul 05/20/12 - 06:14 pm
@ALS. glad you made it.

@ALS. glad you made it.

itsanotherday1 05/21/12 - 12:33 am
People challenge themselves

People challenge themselves to these physical contests and are responsible for themselves in making a decision to go/no go. I ride bike trails that challenge me physically and well know that someone may find my cold body one day. We recently had a fatality on one of the local trails when a man died of cardiac arrest. That is just a potential hazard we accept when we challenge ourselves physically. I'm sorry for the death of this man, but I wager if he could weigh in, he would say that it was a risk he was willing to take.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 05/21/12 - 07:44 am
Any Time

Yes, people have cardiac arrests when they challenge themselves physically. But people also have cardiac arrests when they are sitting in a chair or sleeping in a bed. It can happen any time.

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