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Hong Kong triathlete found dead after Olympic distance race at Port Dickson International Triathlon in Malaysia

The body of Jeffrey Yuen, 42, was found by local fishermen a day after he went missing during the event

PUBLISHED : Monday, 16 July, 2018, 12:12pm
UPDATED : Monday, 16 July, 2018, 11:14pm

A 42-year-old Hong Kong triathlete who went missing in rough seas during a race in Malaysia was found dead on Monday, the second death at the event.

Local media reported fishermen found the body of Jeffrey Yuen Chi-yuen near Pulau Karang at 7.57am, about 1 nautical mile (1.85km) from the coast of Port Dickson, where the triathlon was held.

“The body was transported to Port Dickson Hospital,” State Fire and Rescue Department director Norazam Khamis said.

“The search and rescue team received a call from fishermen who came across the body of the victim, about 1 nautical mile from the place where he was suspected to have gone missing yesterday.

Hong Kong triathlete missing and Malaysian dies in rough seas during race

“The team went to the location and brought the body of the victim to shore, and then to the hospital.”

Yuen was reported missing on Sunday morning, when he failed to return to the beach after the 1.5km swim leg of the Olympic distance race in the Port Dickson International Triathlon.

Yuen’s wife contacted organisers at noon after failing to find him at the beach, in their hotel room, or elsewhere.

Around the same time Yuen was believed to have disappeared, another race participant, Malaysian triathlete Tharm Wei Wong, 39, was reported to have drowned in the sea. He was later found 750 metres away from the starting point of the event, 50 minutes after the race had kicked off.

Rescuers tried to resuscitate Tharm after pulling him from the sea, but he did not respond. He was certified dead at Port Dickson Hospital.

Other media reports suggested the sea had been quite rough at the time.

Malaysian Minister of Youth and Sports Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said a committee would be set up to investigate Tharm’s death and focus on whether any laws or safety regulations had been broken.

A police spokesman said on Sunday that a bike which Yuen was to have used in the cycling segment of the race had not been moved, and his water bottle was full, indicating he did not make it to the first transition.

Hong Kong’s Immigration Department said it was in touch with the Chinese embassy in Malaysia over the matter.

“We will provide appropriate and practical assistance to the person’s family, and continue to stay in close contact with relevant parties and actively follow-up on the case,” the department said.

Participants in an Olympic distance triathlon are expected to swim 1.5km, cycle 40km, and run 10km.

Port Dickson is a beach resort destination in Negeri Sembilan, a state on the western coast of the Malaysian peninsula. It is about 90km south of Kuala Lumpur.

In October last year, Martin So, a 66-year-old former chief executive of health and beauty retailer AS Watson Group drowned during a Hong Kong triathlon event on Lantau Island.

So, who was reportedly on long-term medication, fell ill while in the water and was declared dead after being taken to hospital.