Tough Mudder, the endurance race that has participants brave mud pits, electric shocks, fire, ice and more, had the first death in its three-year history this weekend.
Avishek Sengupta, 28, of Ellicot City, Md., jumped off a 15-foot plank into a muddy pool—the “Walk the Plank” obstacle—but did not resurface during Saturday’s race in Glengary, West Virginia. Sengupta spent several minutes underwater before friends noticed he was missing and alerted event staff, who recovered him and treated him on scene. He was sent to a local hospital and then flown to Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Va., where he died Sunday. The cause of death was ruled an accidental drowning.
Although Sengupta has so far been the only of Tough Mudder’s 750,000 participants to die during an event, the bruising series of obstacle races, designed by British Special Forces, regularly sends people to emergency rooms.
Saturday’s race sent 20 people to City Hospital in Martinsburg, W. Va., including two people who had heart attacks and a near-drowning victim.
“At one point on Saturday afternoon, trauma patients were being diverted to other area hospitals because of the volume of patients being seen in City Hospital’s ED as a result of the Tough Mudder event,” the hospital said in a statement to the Herald-Mail.
“At Tough Mudder, safety is our top priority,” event organizers said in a statement on Sengupta’s death. “In conjunction with local authorities and independent consultants, we thoroughly inspect and test all obstacles prior to each event, and have fully trained medical staff on-site.”
Future races will go on as planned, a spokeswoman told the Baltimore Sun.