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Davao City assesses safety measures after Ironman triathlete’s passing

THE CITY government started looking into the case of a 49-year-old swimming coach’s death after participating in the swimming leg of the Ironman 70.3 on Sunday. 

Gahapon pa lang (Yesterday) we already required some of the safety clusters to provide us with the matters of information,” City Sports Development Division head Mikey Aportadera said in an interview with the media after a moment of silence was offered for the deceased during Monday’s flag-raising ceremony. 

Aportadera said the city government and the IRONMAN 70.3 organizers made sure to help the athlete’s family first and foremost. The city had also extended assistance for the burial.

The deceased, a Muslim, will be buried according to Islamic custom.

He said that previous Ironman 70.3 triathlon races held in different parts of the world had resulted in fatalities and injuries not unlike the two incidents on Sunday. However, the death of the veteran swimmer and athlete raises questions that must be answered. 

“The races before in different countries around the world, basta Ironman, there are some fatalities and some injuries,” Aportadera said. 

“But as a city, we would not want that to happen. Nobody did. Amoa lang, we will look into the matter. Amo lang gyud kuhaon tanang angles gyud para at least there is clarity for what happened,” he added.

However, he said their initial evaluation could not point to any failure in implementing the safety measures during the race. The city has installed the Multi-Agency Coordinating Center, which oversees air assets, water assets, medical assets, and security to ensure the participants’ safety. 

Emergency responders were able to reach the swimmer during the incident instantly.

Paspas kaayo ang pag-attend sa iyaha sa atoang water assets (Our water assets were able to attend to him right away). And divers were able to see him right away…So, daghan kaayo mga coast guard makita ninyo gahapon, naay life guards on the surface, naa’y divers below. So, mao tong naatiman dayon siya and nadala sa hospital (So, as you saw yesterday, there were a lot of coast guards, there were lifeguards on the surface, and divers below. That was why he was immediately attended to and brought to the hospital,” he said. 

Aportadera said medical responders were able to resuscitate the swimmer and take him to the hospital, where he eventually succumbed to what was reported by a family member as a heart attack. 

Meanwhile, other forms of assistance for the bereaved family are being prepared by the city.


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