Reporting Meghan McCorkell
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Tough Mudder tragedy. An Ellicott City man drowned during the endurance race last spring. Now some are questioning rescue efforts after the sheriff releases video of those critical moments after that man went missing.
Meghan McCorkell spoke with fellow participants.
The sheriff’s office has ruled the death an accident but some participants at that West Virginia race say more should have been done.
Near the murky water pit, friends screamed for Avi Sengupta, who disappeared after jumping 15 feet.
Brett Brocki took the video while screaming at the one rescue diver, who witnesses described as having “zero sense of urgency.”
“In retrospect, I’m upset that there’s people not already in the water, two divers on each side, suited up [and] ready with masks,” Brocki said.
Nick Sayers, who jumped off the obstacle right after Sengupta, also says the rescue took too long.
“It was at least four or five minutes I would think before he actually went under, at least. I remember looking at the diver and I was pretty sure I saw what was the look of panic on his face,” Sayers said.
As friends jumped in to help, you can hear the diver yell, “I don’t need anybody else in the water. I’m a rescue diver. Back up!”
That diver eventually found Sengupta, who died the next day. After the tragedy, Tough Mudder officials reviewed safety precautions and deemed them satisfactory.
“Everything that was reviewed by the police was that this was an accident and that our obstacles were safe,” a spokesperson told WJZ’s media partner, The Baltimore Sun.
“It’s pretty clear that nobody was prepared to go in there and act when it came right down to it being reported to them that somebody’s under there,” he said.
He says he won’t ever do another race with the company.
According to a police report, a photographer hired by Tough Mudder says he saw at least 20 other water rescues on that obstacle before Sengupta ever jumped in.
Sengupta’s death is the first and only in Tough Mudder’s history. The company will hold another race in that same West Virginia location in October.