HK policeman Andy Naylor dies in water at Ironman triathlon in New York

PUBLISHED : Monday, 13 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 13 August, 2012, 12:59am

A Hong Kong police superintendent has died while competing in New York City's first Ironman triathlon, after struggling in the swimming leg of the three-stage race in the Hudson River.

New York City Police said a 43-year-old contestant had died.

The Hong Kong Police Force yesterday confirmed the man who died on Saturday was Andy Naylor and sent condolences to his family. It confirmed Naylor was on leave to attend a sporting event in New York.

New York media reported that the competitor "experienced distress" during the 4.8-kilometre swim in the Hudson River at the start of the day-long competition.

Naylor (pictured) was pulled out of the water and taken to hospital, but did not survive. The organisers said the cause of death was unknown. An autopsy was planned, a US news report said.

Just a week ago, Naylor and friend Paul Dingley won the longest kayak leg of the TEVA Kayak 'n' Run series in Sai Kung. The pair powered their way around Shelter Island to win the race in two hours, two minutes and 18 seconds, setting a course record.

Naylor is survived by his wife and three daughters. The family plans to hold the funeral in Britain, followed by a memorial in Hong Kong, according to a message from Naylor's wife Lynn, which circulated among their friends online.

"It gives me some comfort that Andy died doing something he loved but we will miss him sorely," she wrote.

According to online site LinkedIn, Naylor, from Wales, joined Hong Kong Police in 1992. He was stationed at the headquarters in Admiralty in the criminal intelligence bureau and had been in the special duties unit.

Dingley said he learned the news yesterday from other friends in Clear Water Bay, where Naylor and his family lived. "The news was shocking as Andy was one of the best Hong Kong athletes," Dingley said. "Andy was extremely active and sporty, and he loved to help people. He was a loving father and was very committed to his work. He made Hong Kong his second home."

Additional reporting by Associated Press