21 August 2019
Earlier this afternoon, a Belarussian para-rower, age 33, capsized during training on the regatta course at the World Rowing Championships in Linz Ottensheim, Austria. When he was found a few hours later by members of the fire brigade, he was dead. His name has not yet been released.
The accident happened in what is described as ‘normal weather conditions’ and his boat had floating devices, which would make it hard for the boat to capsize.
The area was immediately closed off by the organisers for rowers and media, and only rescue personnel were allowed access to the site, local Austrian media reports.
The World Championships are set to begin on 25 August and go through 1 September. The championships have attracted nearly 1,200 athletes from 80 nations. This includes the biggest number of para-rowers ever at a World Rowing Championships. Of the para-rowing boat classes, the para PR1 men’s single sculls has the most entries with 27 nations taking part.
When writing this, no official statement has yet been made by FISA, World Rowing, about today’s tragic accident. However, later in the day, the following was published on World Rowing website’s Noticeboard:
Today, shortly after 1 p.m., a 33-year old Belarusian para-rower capsized during training on the Linz-Ottensheim rowing course.
A rescue boat was right at hand and reacted immediately. When the lifeguard on board approached, the rower was still holding on to his boat but subsequently let go, sinking under water.
The lifeguard lost sight and rescue divers were called in and started an extended search.
The rower was found around 4 p.m., but was later declared deceased at the scene.
Any enquiries should be directed to the local authorities.