A boating accident led to one death earlier this month when a crew of sailors participating in a race down the California coast encountered high winds and big waves. The boat apparently lost its steering capabilities and sent out a distress signal before it drifted toward the nearby San Clemente Island. The sailboat broke apart when it entered the surf line, at which point the crew abandoned it.
While the situation was getting worse, the crew activated an emergency GPS device to make sure authorities could find them, but declined emergency assistance from the coast guard, instead requesting a tow boat to bring the ship back to safer waters.
A spokesperson for the San Diego Yacht Club told reporters that conditions were fierce the day of the accident but that the experienced sailors believed that they could manage the situation.
It is not clear at this time what precisely caused the death of the crew member or whether the other sailors suffered from any injuries. They were all taken by helicopter to a hospital once rescuers arrived.
The race took place over two days and concluded in Point Loma in San Diego. Yacht racing in California has been risky in the past and over the last several years there have been other deaths during similar races along the coast. Last year, two wrecks that caused five deaths resulted in the Coast Guard temporarily stopping sailboat racing in the San Francisco bay area.
Since the exact circumstances of the fatality have not been disclosed, it is not clear if there was any negligent or reckless conduct involved at the time of the accident or if the fatality could have been avoided. In some boating accidents, injuries and fatalities happen because of uncontrollable natural elements. In others, those operating the boat may have had the opportunity to avoid the accident by exercising proper care.
Source: KCRA, "1 dead, 5 hurt in sailboat race accident," March 9, 2013.
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