The California sailboat racing community has been shocked by two fatal accidents just weeks apart. While the first accident occurred when a rogue wave swept several crewmembers off a boat killing five people, the second occurred just off the Mexican coast a few days later.
Investigators with the US Coast Guard believe that the second boat, which was a 37 foot sailboat participating in the annual Newport to Ensenada boat race, collided with a larger vessel. The investigators are still trying to piece together exactly what happened here. But they believe that the vessel probably hit a tanker or freighter.
The boat simply fell apart, crashing into small pieces. The wreckage was been strewn across the area, and investigators have very few clues about what happened. They believe that it is highly likely that the smaller boat crashed into a larger cargo ship or tanker, and that the crew members of the larger vessel did not even realize that an accident had occurred.
Out of the four crew members of the sailboat, the bodies of three crew members have been recovered. One crewman’s body remains missing. The bodies seemed to show signs of blunt force trauma. The Coast Guard has already suspended its search for the last crew member of the boat, who also happened to be the skipper.
According to investigators, the location and size of the debris does not seem to indicate that that there was any kind of explosion. Additionally, crew members of other boats in the area have also reported seeing a large ship in the same region. Meanwhile, the race organizers have been reeling at the impact of these fatalities, believed to be the first fatalities in the 65-year history of the race.
If you have been hired as a crewman to work on a sailboat, you may also be eligible for benefits under the Jones Act. Consult with an experienced Jones Act attorney at our firm to learn about your rights.