The New England Triathlon race became perilous this weekend due to punishing cold and rough weather conditions resulting to the rescue of 10 triathletes and 2 firefighters being pulled out of the waters.
The organizers, racers and firefighters got more than what they bargained for when a sudden picked up of strong winds and a dropped of temperature turned the weather real bad. This was during the season’s open race in Hopkinton State Park in Ashland, Massachusetts.
Don Morse, one of the athletes in the race said, “Windy and cold. As the race went along, it got worse and worse. I talked to a lot of people after. They said the water conditions were really tough. They couldn’t breathe either way when they were swimming.” This proves that the swimming portion is the most life threatening as revealed by studies in this kind of weather condition.
In near freezing waters, 10 out of the 500 racers needed rescuing. Chaos began when too many triathletes tried to climb the 17 foot firefighter rescue boat.
Lt. David Larussi of Ashland Fire Department said, “The people were supposed to hang on the side of the boat, but some of them climbed in. You know, the chop picked up, the cold temperatures, the wind, the boat took on water and it started going down.”
The boat did overturn and start to sink. A second rescue boat came to help pick up the racers and two firefighters.
“The last thing you want to hear, as a firefighter, is one of your guys calling Mayday,” Larussi further added.
In another incident, two rescue kayaks flipped over during the chaos. Eventually the swim portion of the race was omitted. The triathletes were then treated for hypothermia.