Man Dies During Escape From Alcatraz

First fatality in 33 years

Adam Roy

A participant in San Francisco’s annual Escape From Alcatraz triathlon died mid-race from a presumed heart attack, race officials said Sunday. Ross Ehlinger, a 46-year-old attorney from Austin, was pulled out of San Francisco Bay shortly after entering the water for the famously tough triathlon’s 1.5-mile swim leg. Water safety personnel attempted and failed to revive Ehlinger, who is the first person to die in the 33 years that the race has taken place.

Normally held in June, Escape From Alcatraz was moved to March this year to avoid a potential clash with the America’s Cup sailing race series. However, race director Bill Burke told the San Francisco Chronicle that he didn’t think the low 51-degree water temperature played a part in the man’s death. “This gentleman obviously had a heart condition he was aware of,” Burke said.

The San Francisco Medical Examiner’s office has not released its findings on Ehlinger’s death.