ENSENADA, Mexico – The bodies of three veteran sailors were recovered from the ocean Saturday after their yacht the Aegean crashed for unknown reasons during the annual 124-mile Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race, according to a report by the San Diego Medical Examiner’s Office.
William Reed Johnson Jr., 57, of Torrance, Joseph Lester Stewart, 64, of Florida and a third man identified in news reports by his wife as Kevin Rudolph, 53, were all found in a debris field in the ocean off the coast of northern Mexico at compass coordinates: N 32 44 532, W 117 29 999. A fourth sailor remains missing and has not been identified.
Early reports indicate that the yacht may have crashed into another larger vessel as the only thing left of the 37-foot yacht was small pieces. The race is run on a shipping route where large freighters travel and it’s possible one may have hit the yacht without being aware of it, news reports said.
The sailing competition, organized by the Newport Ocean Sailing Association comprised of 213 yachts this year and this was the first fatality recorded in the 65 years since it started.
United States Boat Accident Statistics
- In 2010, the Coast Guard counted 4,604 accidents that involved 672 deaths, 3153 injuries and approximately $35.5 million dollars of damage to property as a result of recreational boating accidents.
- The fatality rate was 5.4 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels. This rate represents a 6.9% decrease from last year’s fatality rate of 5.8 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational vessels.
- Compared to 2009, the number of accidents decreased 2.66%, the number of deaths decreased 8.70% and the number of injuries decreased 6.10%.
- Almost three-fourths of all fatal boating accident victims drowned, and of those, eighty-eight (88) percent were not reported as wearing a life jacket.
Source: Boating Safety by the United States Coast Guard
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