An Ironman race in Germany was overshadowed by tragedy Sunday after a motorbike rider carrying a photographer documenting the race died after colliding with one of the race participants, officials stated.
Organizers of the event announced that, approximately 22 miles into the bike course of the grueling triathlon race, a 70-year-old motorbike operator collided with a 26-year-old race participant, the New York Post reported. The resulting head-on crash killed the motorbike rider while severely injuring the athlete. A 50-year-old cameraman, who was documenting the race on the motorbike, was taken to the hospital for shock, Deutsche Welle (DW) reported.
“It is with our deepest regret to confirm the passing of the motorcycle operator from a significant medical event. Our thoughts and care are with the family whom we will support as we are able while they go through this difficult time,” race organizers stated, according to the New York Post.
A 70-year-old man was killed today in the northern German city of Hamburg, in an accident during the Ironman triathlon event in the city.
A motorcycle collided with a competitor on a bicycle. The incident was captured live on television. https://t.co/ydX6gAjqcK
— DW News (@dwnews) June 4, 2023
The accident occurred on a reportedly “narrow” portion of the race where riders were racing in both directions due to the looping nature of the course, the outlet reported. (RELATED: Unlicensed Teen Driver Reportedly Hit School Bus Head On, 4 Seriously Injured)
“It was incredibly narrow, a complete farce,” fourth-place finisher Jan Frodeno told DW, adding he had witnessed the fatal crash. “I was right next to it and saw the bike shatter into what felt like a thousand pieces,” he told the outlet. The accident was reportedly live-streamed on television by media outlets covering the race.
“I know that such things must always be covered by the media, but athletes’ safety should come first,” Frodeno remarked. Frodeno only learned the crash had led to a fatality when he finished the race, DW reported.
Racers approaching the accident site were forced to dismount their bikes and walk them up and around an embankment on the side of the road until organizers were able to divert the course, DW reported.
While the race continued on as scheduled despite the fatal accident, German public broadcaster ARD said it decided to end its live stream as a gesture of respect to the unnamed victim, the New York Post reported.