Ironman triathletes stop race to save pair from drowning

2016-01-27 12:28
IRONMAN 70.3 South Africa finish (Facebook)

IRONMAN 70.3 South Africa finish (Facebook)

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East London - Two participants and a referee in the Standard Bank IRONMAN 70.3 South Africa triathlon in East London interrupted their race to rescue two swimmers in distress on Sunday.

The Daily Dispatch reported on Wednesday that a rip tide swept the two unnamed bathers out to sea at Eastern Beach around midday on Sunday.

Referee Ross Murray, 21, an engineering student at the University of Cape Town, and athletes Martin Potgieter, 37, of Port Elizabeth and Dylan Hartwig, 21, an accounting student at UCT, reportedly took 15 minutes to rescue the two young men.

Murray told the Daily Dispatch he was riding a mountain bike while checking on the athletes when he saw the two playing at the water's edge, and moments later saw them being swept out to sea, yelling for help.

Having served as a volunteer lifeguard while at school, he stripped to his underwear and swam 30m into the sea to rescue them.

Potgieter was running when he heard the calls for help and realised he had to help. Hartwig joined in the rescue effort.

They managed to get them to shore safely, and were thanked profusely for their heroic efforts. The triathletes completed the event successfully.

They were praised during a gala dinner after the event.

Defending champions Jodie Swallow and Matt Trautmann won the event. It involved a 1.9km swim at East London's Orient Beach, a 90km bike ride, and then a 21.1km flat run.

Read more on:    east london  |  drownings  |  good news

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