U.S. Paralympian Dies at Sea While Solo Rowing from LA to Hawaii


United States Paralympic medalist and ocean rower Angela Madsen has tragically passed away at sea while attempting a historic solo crossing from Los Angeles to Honolulu, as reported by the NY Post. She was 60 years old.

Madsen embarked on her voyage in April, hoping to reach Honolulu within four months. On Sunday, the U.S. Marine Corps veteran entered the ocean to repair a shackle used to secure a sea anchor to the bow, reports the Adventure Journal. With a tropical storm headed her way, Madsen was preparing for inclement weather. Tragically, she never made it back onto her 20-foot oceangoing rowboat, Row of Life. The accident occurred 1,275 nautical miles northeast of Hawaii, or approximately halfway through the voyage.

The last correspondence from Madsen came via text message to her wife, Debra Madsen, on Saturday night, the Mercury News reports. When she did not respond to messages on Sunday, her wife posted on the RowofLife Facebook page on Monday that she was about halfway along the journey. On Tuesday, Debra wrote on the Facebook page, “With extreme sadness, I must announce that Angela Madsen will not complete her solo row to Hawaii.” The U.S. Coast Guard located Madsen’s body, but the cause of death has yet to be disclosed, according to the Mercury News.

In 1993, Madsen lost most of the use of her legs after a surgery went wrong, reports the Adventure Journal. The three-time Paralympian was attempting to become the first paraplegic, openly gay—as well as the oldest—woman to ever achieve the Pacific Ocean crossing, reports the Mercury News.

“Angela was a warrior, as fierce as they come,” stated Debra Madsen and Soraya Simi on the “Row of Life” website. “A life forged by unbelievable hardship, she overcame it all and championed the exact path she envisioned for herself since she was a little girl. To row an ocean solo was her biggest goal. She knew the risks better than any of us and was willing to take those risks because being at sea made her happier than anything else.”

Our thoughts and condolences go out to Madsen’s family and friends.

 


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