Two men die during swimming portion of Ironman event in Ireland

LONDON (AP) — Two men died during the swimming portion of an Ironman event in Ireland on Sunday, local authorities said.

Cork County Council said it was “deeply saddened over the tragic loss of two race participants” during the event in Youghal in southwest Ireland.

Irish broadcaster RTE said the two men, one in his mid-60s and one in his mid-40s, died in separate incidents during the 1.9 kilometer (1.2 mile) swimming portion of the competition. The event had originally been scheduled for Saturday but was pushed back one day because of severe weather conditions.

“During the swim portion of Sunday’s race, safety personnel provided immediate medical attention upon recognizing the athletes were in need of assistance,” organizer Ironman Ireland said in a statement on Facebook.

“We share our greatest sympathies with the families and friends of the athletes and will continue to offer them our support as they go through this very difficult time. We thank the safety personnel and first responders who worked quickly to provide the athletes with medical assistance.”

Both men were pronounced dead at the scene, local media reported.

They were competing in a so-called half Ironman event, which also features a 90 kilometer (56 mile) bike course and a 21.1 kilometer (13.1 mile) run.

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