Alisdair Putt Obituary, Australian Ex-Spy, War Crimes Investigator Passes Away During Atlantic Rowing Race

Former Australian spy and war crimes investigator Alisdair Putt died while skippering a rowing boat in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic race. Due to celebrate his 62nd birthday on the boat, Putt suffered a fatal heart attack on January 4 while competing from the Canary Islands to Antigua.

The competition organizers confirmed his demise, stating, “It is with heartfelt sadness that we must convey the news of the death of Alisdair Putt – skipper of the four-person team, Aussie Old Salts.” Despite the crew’s efforts to save him, resuscitation was unsuccessful. Putt’s cardiac-related event on deck prompted organisers to announce an investigation into his death.

Putt’s fellow crew members, Stuart Moore, Andreas Koenig, and Alastair Horton, were returning to shore aboard a safety craft. The other 37 teams competing across the Atlantic are also impacted by the tragedy in addition to the Old Salts team.

In the 4,800-kilometer event known as the World’s Toughest Row, just one Australian team, the Aussie Old Salts, set out to raise money for two local Kununurra organizations: an Indigenous women’s crisis center and a transition center for former military personnel. Three members of the crew were former members of the Australian Army or Royal Australian Navy.

Putt discussed the difficult assignment before leaving. Putt was a war crimes investigator in Darfur, the former Yugoslavia, and Rwanda. He was a former member of the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation (ASIO). With a 24-hour, two-hour-on, two-hour-off schedule for six weeks, the squad qualified for the race.