Search Ends for 4 Missing in SF Yacht Tragedy

Monster waves hit boat mid-race
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 16, 2012 12:33 AM CDT
Updated Apr 16, 2012 1:00 AM CDT

The Coast Guard has called off its search after two days hunting for four sailors—three men and a woman—missing from a 38-foot sailboat that crashed during a race that started in San Francisco Bay. A fifth sailor's body has been recovered, and three were rescued from an island where the yacht ran aground. "The decision to suspend a search and rescue case like this is never an easy one to make," said Coast Guard Captain Cynthia Stowe. The yacht, the Low Speed Chase, was taking part in a 54-mile race around the Farallon Islands, some 26 miles west of the Golden Gate Bridge, when its was pummeled by huge waves that rolled it over, tossed the sailors overboard, and drove it into the rocks, according to the captain. Four Coast Guard cutters, three helicopters—including two Blackhawks from the Air National Guard—and a C-130 transport plane hadn't found any evidence of the missing sailors by late yesterday, reports CNN.

It was the first known fatality in the 143-year history of the San Francisco Yacht Club, which managed the race for the Offshore Yacht Racing Association, and where the stricken yacht berths. The tricky waters off San Francisco have been particularly treacherous this year. Just last month the Coast Guard rescued sailors from Australia off San Francisco who were taking part in a round-the-world race. The yacht suffered damage after it was hit by a monster wave. Crews were working on getting the Geraldton Western Australia fixed in time to resume the race from San Francisco this week, reports AP. (More San Francisco stories.)

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