Two men have died in separate incidents while taking part in an Ironman competition in County Cork on Sunday morning.
The men died while taking part in a 1.7km swim during an annual Ironman event in the town of Youghal, in East Cork.
The two men have been named as County Meath native, Brendan Wall, who was in his mid-40s and living in the UK, and Ivan Chittenden, 64, who had traveled from Toronto, Canada, to take part in the event.
Both were pronounced dead at the scene despite attempts to revive them.
The Irish Independent reports that one of the men had a medical emergency just as the swimming event was about to start on Sunday morning, while the other man was discovered unresponsive during the event.
One case is being investigated as a possible cardiac arrest, while the other is being investigated as a possible drowning, according to the Independent.
The men were among several thousand athletes who entered the water on Sunday morning as part of the annual triathlon. Some athletes were taking part in the 70.3-mile half-triathlon, while others were competing in the full 226.3km race.
It is understood that both men were competing in the 70.3-mile race, which has postponed on Saturday in the aftermath of Storm Betty.
Investigations are under way after two men died while taking part in an Ironman event in Youghal, Co Cork. Organisers had earlier advised participants of a change to the distance due to conditions at the start of the race | https://t.co/dV8SBS5Nqx pic.twitter.com/X5JO8R7c2H— RTÉ News (@rtenews) August 20, 2023
Ironman Ireland confirmed the deaths on social media, stating that it is "deeply saddened" by the news.
"During the swim portion of Sunday's race, safety personnel provided immediate medical attention upon recognizing the athletes were in need of assistance," Ironman Ireland said in a statement.
"We share our greatest sympathies with the families and friends of the athletes and will continue to offer them our support as they go through this very difficult time."
The event continued on Sunday with a 90km cycle and a long-distance run.
Gardaí confirmed that an investigation is underway and that emergency services attended the scene on Sunday. The two men were taken to Cork University Hospital, with a post-mortem due to take place on Monday.