Port Elizabeth - Port Elizabeth police in the Eastern Cape have identified the two athletes who died, following the 2019 Standard Bank Ironman African Championship swim event at the weekend.
Police spokesperson, Colonel Priscilla Naidu said the athletes were identified as 62-year-old Leon Stanvliet from George and 57-year-old Andre Trichardt from Durban.
Naidu said the men died in hospital after experiencing difficulty in the swimming challenge.
According to Ironman South Africa, the swim covered a distance of 1.6 kilometres at a temperature of 18.5 degrees celsius. The swim was reduced from 3.8 kilometres to 1.6 kilometres due to the rough sea conditions and large swells.
Naidu says post mortems would be conducted to determine the exact cause of death and police have opened inquest dockets.
Meanwhile, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor, Mongameli Bobani expressed shock and sadness at the untimely death of the two Ironman athletes.
In a statement, Bobani said the metro had hosted a successful World Ironman Championship with no incidents in September last year.
"The successful World Ironman Championships was a result of many years of experience that the City has acquired through the African Championships."
Bobani said it was against this background that Sunday's incident came as devastating news.
He said they understood however, that the reasons for the fatalities were beyond what the organisers could humanly do to prevent it.
"I would like to thank the organisers, emergency personnell and people of Nelson Mandela Bay for the support they have shown to the family and the efforts made to save the lives of the two athletes," Bobani said.
African News Agency/ANA