The sister of a 54-year-old Co Sligo businessman who collapsed and died during the Westport Sea 2 Summit last November today called for the organisers of the challenge to base a special ambulance locally during the event.
Mrs. Pearl Whittaker made her comments at an inquest in Castlebar into the death of James Paul (J.P.) Duffy, Bunnacranagh, Curry, Co. Sligo, on November 9 last.
Mr. Duffy called to his sister’s home at Quay Road, Westport, for a rest during the race stating he needed a rest and a warm-up.
In a statement read to today's inquest, his sister said she believed he was exhausted, but was determined to finish the race.
Mrs. Whittaker said her brother, who was complaining of a pain in his left arm, wanted to lie down and then felt dizzy, and his head dropped. She said that when she lifted his head, he was unconscious. Despite efforts to save him, Mr. Duffy died at the scene.
At today’s inquest, Mrs. Whittaker was critical of the time it took for the ambulance service to reach her home through Westport, which was congested at the time.
She pointed out that the Sea2Summit is a huge event, and said the provision of a special ambulance would make a huge difference in years to come.
Dr. Tamas Nemeth, consultant pathologist at Mayo University Hospital, gave the cause of death as acute myocardial infarction, and explained that the myocardial infarction had not occurred during the race but two or three days beforehand.
Dr nemeth said Mr Duffy's death was not due to Sea 2 Summit.
After recording a verdict of death from natural causes, the coroner Patrick O'Connor stressed that the physical exertion involved in competing in the race was not a contributory factor in Mr. Duffy’s death.