An American yacht that was destroyed as it raced from California to Mexico might have ended up on the shore of an island just outside the border of the two nations, according to the ship's GPS. This revelation potentially discredits the theory that it was wrecked by a large ship in the area as the Coast Guard continues to investigate the debris.
The Coast Guard has been tracking the ship using its GPS device as they begin to determine what caused the crash of 37-foot ship, called the Aegean, that killed three sailors and left one missing, reported the Associated Press.
The Aegean was part of a 124-mile from New Port Beach, Calif., to Ensenada, Mexico. The boat enthusiasts have taken part in the race for 65 years. At some point late Friday night or early Saturday, officials originally believed that it collided with a larger vessel and claimed three lives and left one person missing.
The San Diego county medical examiner received the bodies and investigated the cause of death. Kevin Eric Rudolph, 53, of Manhattan Beach and William Reed Johnson Jr., 57, of Torrance, both died of blunt force trauma. Joseph Lester Stewart, 64, of Brandenton, Fla., drowned, while noticeable head injuries contributed to his death. The boat's captain, Theo Mavromatis, 49, is still missing.
The GPS tracking information shows that the boat, or at least the GPS, landed on Mexico's Coronado Island around 1:36 a.m. travelling at a speed of approximately 6 knots.
However, a spokesman for the family that owns the yacht said it is possible that the GPS device simply landed on the rocks and not necessarily the boat. He said that the too little debris was found offshore.
Look at the destruction of it all, Michael Patton said, reported the Associated Press. You're talking about it being squished by a larger vessel.
Henry Dunphy, a spokesman for the United States Coast Guard said that the investigation into the crash was continuing. Investigators have not fully determined what happened.
At this point, we can't really rule out anything, whether or not it was a vessel-on-vessel collision or a collision with something else, Dunphy said, according to Reuters. Dunphy also said that if the result of the crash was in fact due to a an accident, the Coast Guard would consider suspending races off the coast of Southern California,
It could be an option going forward here. It's yet to be determined if there will be a stand-down, he said.
Eric Lamb found the wreckage on Saturday while conducting a safety patrol. He said the debris was over 2 square miles long and remarked that it appeared the yacht had gone through a blender, reported the AP.
The coroner's reported that the three deaths were likely an accident, but did not speculate what caused the crash.
Troy Sears, who owns a charter company called Next Level Sailing, said it is unlikely the GPS fell off the boat as suggested because the device shows a steady speed and a straight course.
That section of North Coronado Island is near vertical and it would be like hitting a wall. There's no beach to stop or slow a vessel, so a vessel would make contact with a near-vertical wall, he said, reported the Associated Press.
The deaths of the sailors come only two weeks after five sailors were killed in the Northern California when their 38-foot yacht was hit by powerful waves.