Search ends for missing after yacht race

2012-04-16 10:00

  • Maritime Economics
    A combination of a sophisticated historical and theoretical analysis of the shipping industry Now R1,122.00
    buy now
San Francisco - Rescuers halted a search on Sunday for four sailors swept overboard after powerful waves battered their boat during a yacht race, tossing it into rocks around islands off San Francisco, officials said.

The body of one sailor was recovered and the suspension of rescue efforts brought the presumed death toll from Saturday's accident to five.

"An air and sea search was suspended indefinitely around sundown and we will not go back tomorrow," US Coast Guard spokesperson Caleb Critchfield said.

"We kept searching 12 hours past what we consider the survivability window. We extend our deepest sympathy and our hearts go out to the family and friends of the victims," he added.

The vessel Low Speed Chase, an 11.5m racing and cruising sailboat with a crew of eight, was one of 49 yachts competing on Saturday in a race around South Farallon Island, part of a rugged, sparsely populated chain offshore from San Francisco.

Officials said trouble began as the vessel rounded South Farallon Island on Saturday afternoon.

Emergency transmission

A large wave initially swept four crew members into the ocean and when those remaining aboard tried to turn the craft around, another wave pushed the boat onto rocks, where it foundered.

Local media said the second wave tossed three more people into the water.

Air units from the Coast Guard and California Air National Guard lifted off after receiving an emergency transmission from a satellite beacon on the Low Speed Chase, as well as a mayday radio call from a nearby yacht, officials said.

The accident came two weeks after a monster wave smashed into an Australian yacht taking part in a round-the-world race.

Four crew members were hurt in that accident, which took place 400 nautical miles off the California coast, and the Coast Guard had to be called in to help. No one was killed.

Shortly after Saturday's accident, helicopter crews quickly used litter baskets and motorised winches to rescue three sailors, said Levi Read, a US Coast Guard spokesperson.

Major blow

The rescuers also recovered the body of Marc Kasanin, aged 46, of Belvedere, California, who was identified late on Sunday in a release from the San Francisco Yacht Club, where the Low Speed Chase was based.

Coast Guard and Air National Guard aircraft and ships blanketed a search area measuring 24 by 48km to no avail.

According to the yacht club, the missing California sailors are Alexis Busch of Larkspur; Alan Cahill of Tiburon; Jordan Fromm, aged 25, of Kentville; and an additional crew member whose identity was being withheld because his family had yet to be notified.

The Farallones Full Crews Race was first held in 1907, and the accident was a major blow to the 1 400-member San Francisco Yacht Club, known as the oldest yachting club on the West Coast. The club, founded in 1869, held a private vigil on Sunday.

Read had earlier said the prospects for surviving frigid ocean waters or holding onto the rocky shoals and cliffs of the Farallones depended on the missing sailors' physical fitness, size and clothing.

"The people who were rescued had on cold-weather gear and inflatable life vests," he said.

Ed Lynch, the yacht club's director, said the three rescued sailors were "all pretty shaken up" and taken to San Francisco General Hospital. Two were treated and released on Saturday and one remained hospitalized on Sunday with a fractured leg.

"This was an experienced crew who raced together often," Lynch said. "The sailing community is tight-knit, and this is being felt around the world. This is just a terrible tragedy for everyone."

Read more on:    us  |  maritime

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

/Dewani Trial

Red Bull Lionheart trail run - not for the fainthearted!

Entries are open, so what are you waiting for?


Where were you when you last felt alive?

Adventure holidays for your bucket list
Top 10 water sports to try before you die
6 impressive camping tips
LOL! The 8 stages of marathon running

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Supervisor/Team Lead

Gardens Oranjezicht
Amazon Development Centre SA (Pty) Ltd

Compliance Officer

Cape Town CBD
Hi-Tech Recruitment - Johannesburg
R30 000 - R40 000 Per Month

Senior C# .Net Developer

Cape Town
E-Merge IT Recruitment
R240 000 - R600 000 Per Year

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now! - shop online today

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Deal of the week!

Save R1200 on the Samsung 48” smart full HD LED television now only R8799. Buy now!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

Save 20% on Nivea beauty products!

Buy any two Nivea beauty products and save 20%. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25


There is an easy social flow and the need to blend in, yet you may not feel entirely comfortable. Something beneath the more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.