Former Australian Spy Dies During The World’s Toughest Row

Alisdair Putt has died while taking part in the The World’s Toughest Row, a 4,800km race across the Atlantic Ocean. The 61-year-old former Australian spy and war crimes investigator was part of a four-man team called the Aussie Old Salts.

On Jan. 4, the crew were halfway through the race when Putt collapsed on the deck and passed away. He is thought to have had a cardiac event. His team desperately tried to resuscitate him but were unsuccessful.

The crew, made up of Putt, Andreas Koenig, Alastair Horton, and Stewart More, were taking part in the annual race (previously known as the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge) from the Canary Islands to Antigua. The ex-agent for the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation was skippering the crew of current and former military servicemen.

Speaking to the Australian Defence Department before he started, Putt admitted that the team was slightly nervous.

“There have been more persons who have climbed Mount Everest than rowed across the Atlantic, so the scale of the undertaking is a bit daunting,” he said.

Before the start of the race, he had been in Rwanda investigating war crimes for the UN.

His death was confirmed by a spokesperson for the The World’s Toughest Row on Jan. 4. The rest of the crew are now safely onboard a vessel heading for land.

Rebecca McPhee

Rebecca McPhee is a freelance writer for ExplorersWeb.

Rebecca has been writing about open water sports, adventure travel, and marine science for three years. Prior to that, Rebecca worked as an Editorial Assistant at Taylor and Francis, and a Wildlife Officer for ORCA.

Based in the UK Rebecca is a science teacher and volunteers for a number of marine charities. She enjoys open water swimming, hiking, diving, and traveling.