One Dead, Four Missing During Full Crew Farallones Race Disaster, Coast Guard Calls Of Search Near Farallon Islands

The search and rescue for four crew-members who were racing around the Farallon Islands off Northern California during the Full Crew Farallones Race, has been suspended indefinitely by the Coast Guard.

The four yachtsmen were part of a team of eight and entered into a race sailing around the Farallon Islands when their sailboat, the Low Speed Chase, was stuck by a series of powerful waves, reported the Associated Press.  Several crew-members were thrown overboard as the ship struck several rocks in the water

The body of one of the crew-members was pulled out of the water hours after the incident and three others were rescued. However, four remain missing.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Caleb Critchfield said the search was ended for the remaining crew members and there were no plans to resume it. Boats and aircraft had searched the ocean around the island for over 30 hours.

There's a window of survivability and we searched well beyond that window, he said, according to the Associated Press.

Captain Cynthia Stowe also said it is always a difficult decision to suspend the search of a missing crew.

The decision to suspend a search and rescue case like this is never an easy one to make, said Stowe, according to Fox40. The Coast Guard extends our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of the lost crewmen and the deceased. They will all be in our thoughts and prayers.

The four missing crewmen were identified as Alan Cahill, of Tiburon, Calif, Jordan Fromm, of San Rafael, Calif., Elmer Morrissey, of Ireland, Alexis Busch, of Larkspur, Calif., by the San Francisco Yacht Club. The San Mateo County Coroner's Office identified the dead body that was pulled from the water as Marc Kasanin, 46, of Belvedere, Calif.

The San Francisco Yacht Club identified the surviving crew members as Capt. James Bradford of Chicago, who owns the boat, Nick Voss of Sonoma, Calif., in his mid-20s, and Brian Chong of Belvedere, Calif., in his late 30s.

It is with great sadness that The San Francisco Yacht Club reports a tragedy in the SFYC Family, said the club in a statement. The San Francisco Yacht Club offers its thoughts and prayers to the crew and their families.

Members of the tightly knit yacht club in San Francisco had gathered in the headquarters to mourn the loss of their fellow sailors, reported the San Francisco Chronicle.

Anne Kasanin, the mother of the sailor whose body was dragged from the water, attended the service at the club. She said was moved by how many people knew her son. She said he was a well-liked local artist, whose paintings often reflected his love of the water. She said Marc has been sailing since he was 7.

He was a very dear son to me and a tremendous help, and I'm going to miss him very much, said Kasanin, according to the AP.

San Franscisco Yacht Club Director also reflected on the accident.

It's a tragedy of unbelievable proportions, said Lynch, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. It doesn't affect just this club, it affects sailors all over the world. It's going to hit us hard for a long, long time.

We're all deeply saddened.

Low Speed Chase was one of 49 boats competing in the contest around the Farallon Islands, which began 9:30 a.m. Saturday at the St. Francis Yacht Club. The race has been held annually since 1907 and is sponsored by the Offshore Yacht Racing Association in Alameda, reported the San Francisco Chronicle.

The Farallon Islands are a destination to go and sail around, and it is certainly some of the toughest conditions around in a sailing environment, Lynch said, according to the AP. It's not for everybody, but for the people who do it, it's a thrill.

During the race, some of the 49 boats were forced to turn around after enduring particularly tough racing conditions. Low Speed Chase ran into trouble when it was struck by a series of large and powerful waves that swept crew-members off the side of the ship.  As the yacht turned around to get her fallen crew-members, another wave flung all but one of the crew-members into the water, reported the AP.

One boat in the race witnessed the accident, but was unable to help without endangering its own crew. A Mayday call went out around 3 p.m. on Saturday.  The entire crew was said to be wearing life vests and gear for the harsh climate.

Sharks and cold weather did not concern rescuers. However, waves reportedly reached 20 feet in the area of the accident.

The worst thing is to have a wave break on you, R. David Britt, a University of California, Davis, chemist, who took part in the race, reported the AP. You can go up and down, up and down, but if a wave breaks on the cockpit on top of the crew, that's how somebody could get swept out of the boat.

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