Reporting Monique Griego
ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (WJZ) — A popular endurance race ends in tragedy when an Ellicott City man dies after an accident on the Tough Mudder obstacle course.
Monique Griego spoke with his friends and others who attended the race.
This is the first fatality in the event’s three-year history. Friends say the victim had been training for months and was in great shape. They still can’t understand how this happened.
It’s billed as “probably the toughest event on the planet.” This weekend, as 14,000 people flocked to West Virginia to compete in the Tough Mudder endurance race, one person wouldn’t make it out.
“I was told that there had been a drowning,” said Ted Snyder.
The Berkely County Sheriff’s Office responded shortly after event staff pulled Avi Sengupta, 28, of Ellicott City from the muddy waters of “Walk The Plank.” YouTube video of the obstacle shows participants jump from a 12-foot platform into a muddy pool.
Friends say Sengupta was an avid rock climber and in great shape, but after jumping in, he never resurfaced.
Sunday, he was taken off life support due to damage caused by the lack of oxygen to his brain.
“Any kind of activity like this, you’re putting yourself at risk but it’s a risk you understand going into it,” said Steve Marker, who’s competed in the race.
Marker competed in Saturday’s event and says the obstacles were heavily staffed and controlled.
“I don’t see how it could have happened,” he said.
Tough Mudder’s CEO released a statement saying,” As organizers, we take our responsibility to provide a safe event to our participants very seriously. Tough Mudder is devastated by this tragic accident.”
Investigators do not believe organizers are at fault.
“We saw no indications of criminal activity,” Snyder said.
Sengupta’s loved ones say he was an amazing person who loved life and had a huge circle of friends.
Even participants who didn’t know him are struck by what happened.
“It’s just a terrible tragedy that someone would pass away during an event that brings people together,” Marker said.
Sengupta’s friends say they question how long it took rescuers to reach him, saying he was under for six to seven minutes. Investigators would not comment on the exact time. All participants have to sign waivers before the event.
Tough Mudder representatives say they have no plans to get rid of the “Walk the Plank” obstacle but are reviewing all safety procedures.
Several members of the Ravens staff participated in the endurance race, including head coach John Harbaugh.