With two dead, safety overhaul asked of race

Triathlon participants swim 1.5 kilometers in the Hudson River, then bike 40 kilometers along the West Side Highway and run 10 kilometers through Central Park.

A second person died yesterday morning after participating in the Nautica New York City Triathlon, prompting at least one city official to demand a safety overview of the grueling athletic event.

A 40-year-old Illinois woman was pulled out of the Hudson River during the swimming portion of the race Sunday. It is believed she went into cardiac arrest twice, during and after the 1.5 kilometer swim.
She was hospitalized and died yesterday morning.

Her death comes after a 64-year-old man died Sunday, also during the swim. Michael Kudryk, of Freehold, N.J., was pulled out of the Hudson River unconscious and is thought to have died from a heart attack.

“This is horrifying,” said Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer when news of the second fatality broke. “We can’t ignore this.”

Stringer is demanding race organizers do a “top-to-bottom” review of the competition’s safety protocol.

He also questioned the decision to go ahead with Sunday’s race despite the muggy conditions.

“The heat may have contributed to this,” said Stringer. “We need to review whether this triathlon is taking place in the appropriate month. Would it be smart to move it to the spring or the fall?”

But Triathlon director Bill Burke said the triathlons are usually held in the summer because that’s when Hudson River currents flow with -— not against -— the swimmers. That’s also when the river is warmest.

“It starts in the early morning during the coolest part of the day,” said Burke, adding that when the race started, both the air and water temperatures were in the 70s. But Burke did not say he would do a nuts-to-bolts safety review.


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