Thursday, November 09, 2006

IMFL fatality

I'm so very sad for the whole family of Barney Rice. Our hearts go out to them. He stood on the same beach on race day morning as all of us, with the same hopes and fears. It could have been any one of us.

I continue to be concerned that the very low numbers of on-water support staff at IMFL may have contributed to this by increasing the time until he was rescued and CPR started. I truly hope that was not the case. Perhaps the autopsy will provide clues.


Nov 8, 11:18 PM EST

Mont. resident dies after being rescued during Ironman

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- A Montana resident who had to be rescued from the Gulf of Mexico while swimming part of the Ford Ironman Florida has died, authorities said.
Barney Rice, 35, died Tuesday night according to Bay County Medical Center records. The cause of death was not immediately clear but an autopsy will be performed, officials said.
Rice was at about the 1.8 mile mark of a 2.4 mile swim on Saturday when other triathletes flagged down officials, according to a police report. Rescue divers who responded found Rice unconscious and not breathing but emergency officials were able to get a pulse en route to a hospital, the report said.

Ironman spokeswoman Helen Manning told The News Herald of Panama City that Ironman North America and Ironman Florida had no immediate comment on Rice's death but will release a statement in the coming week. An after-hours call placed to Ironman North America by The Associated Press was not immediately returned.

Rice owned a car and boat dealership in Kalispell, Mont., according to the paper.


Laurie said...

Thanks for keeping us up to date on this. It is so very sad that this happened.

Bike Chick said...

That is awful. On a day when you expect great things to happen, it must have been especially hard on his family.

triathlonmom said...

thanks for covering this. It's important to remember that i could have been any of us and to always balance safety with risk.
My heart goes out to that family. I hope they find comfort in knowing that he died following his dream.

Michael said...

I'm one of Barney's friends and I think there should be an investigation into the number of support staff. Especially with 3 foot swells.

nancytoby said...

I'm very sorry, Michael. I have to say that I agree.

jeanne said...

you know, what we attempt to do with marathons and ironman is serious stuff.

so very very sad.

ShirleyPerly said...

My sincerest condolences to Barney's family and friends. Unfortunately, I also agree there did not appear to be enough support out there on the swim course.

Only because I was one of the slowest swimmers to finish did I have a kayak escort me on the second half of the second lap. But I noticed that he (she?) was being thrown about as much as I was and had some difficulties maintaining a safe distance from me (bumped me with the paddle a couple times).

Though it's certainly no excuse, all I can think of is that perhaps the water was too rough for many of the volunteers who had signed up to man the swim course. I mean, if they couldn't handle a boat in white cap conditions, they would endanger themselves and those swimming. But if that was the case, IM should have gotten more Seals from NAVSEA to help man the course, moved the swim to the bay, or had some other back-up plan.

I know we assume serious risks by doing an ironman but we also expect that race officials will do their part to make their race as safe as possible even in the worst of conditions. I'm not sure that happened at IMFL06, personally.