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Divers identify cause of fatal California boat accident

Back in May, we wrote about a California sailboat accident that took the lives of four veteran sailors. At the time of our previous boat accident blog post, Coast Guard officials had not yet determined the cause of the fatal crash, but suspected that the sailboat may have collided with a tanker or other larger vessel.

But the Coast Guard was unable to find the cause of the boat accident or even locate the wreckage of the destroyed sailboat. Now, four months after the fatal crash, two San Diego divers have taken it upon themselves to solve the mystery and bring closure to the families of the accident victims, and they say that they have found the cause of the crash and the sailors' deaths.

The accident took place during a three-day race from Newport Beach, California, to Ensenada, Mexico. During the first night of the race, however, the sailboat disappeared off of race organizers' tracking system as it sailed near the North Coronado Island. Coast Guard officials were able to locate the bodies of the deceased sailors, and a subsequent autopsy revealed that they had died of blunt force trauma. However, how they received that trauma was unknown, and without any significant wreckage from the sailboat, Coast Guard officials were unable to pinpoint the cause of the crash.

So after waiting a few months for ocean currents to die down, two divers went to the suspected crash site, armed with an underwater video camera. Just moments after their dive began, the men found the boat's engine and keel at the tip of North Coronado Island. Because those heavier pieces of equipment couldn't float away like lighter debris, the divers say, it appears that the cause of the fatal crash was the boat's collision with the island.

The divers say that they have turned their video footage over to Coast Guard investigators.

Source: 10 News, "Divers Find New Evidence In Boat Crash Off Coronado Islands," Aug. 29, 2012

At our San Diego personal injury firm, we handle boat crash cases like the one discussed above. To learn more, please visit our boating accidents page.

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