Ross Ehlinger Identified as Alcatraz Triathlete Who Died During Race
The San Francisco Medical Examiner's Office this morning said it was 46-year-old Ross Ehlinger who died on Sunday during the city's popular Escape From Alcatraz triathlon, marking the first death in the history of the annual event.
The Austin resident reportedly died less than a minute after he jumped into the chilly water; he was pulled from the Bay immediately and paramedics performed CPR, but were unable to revive him.
Race officials issued a statement, saying they have reason to believe Ehlinger died of a massive heart attack in Sunday's race, which was held months earlier than its usual June date and in far colder waters.
"Was it colder than normal? Yes. But in my opinion, the water temperature was not a factor at all in this tragedy," race director Bill Burke told the Chronicle. "This gentleman obviously had a heart condition he was unaware of."
However, medical authorities told SF Weekly this morning the death is still under investigation and they have "no idea what happened to him yet."
The race includes a 1.5-mile swim from the site of the former federal prison followed by an 18-mile bike ride and an 8-mile run through San Francisco.