Sailor dies in tragic accident at sea

By James HoreA SAILOR has died in an accident after the yacht he was crewing with his son ran aground off the coast. A three-man crew was sailing the 25ft yacht Siesta from Spain to Ipswich docks when it ran aground on a long sandbar 12 miles off Walton on the Naze at about 4.

By James Hore

A SAILOR has died in an accident after the yacht he was crewing with his son ran aground off the coast.

A three-man crew was sailing the 25ft yacht Siesta from Spain to Ipswich docks when it ran aground on a long sandbar 12 miles off Walton on the Naze at about 4.45am yesterday.

It is understood one of the crew, a man aged in his 50s from Inverness, got out of the yacht to try to dislodge the hull from the sand, but was struck by a propeller as the vessel came free and then crushed.


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Lifeboats from Walton on the Naze and Harwich were sent to the scene and a rescue helicopter from Wattisham Airfield in Suffolk was also deployed following a mayday call that the man was trapped under the yacht.

The man's 35-year-old son and the third crew member managed to get him out, but had suffered injuries to his pelvis and abdomen.

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He was airlifted in a critical condition to hospital in Margate, Kent, but died soon after arrival.

The two surviving crew members were taken by lifeboat back to Harwich, while the Siesta was towed into the harbour, where it was impounded by Essex Police's marine investigation unit.

Rod Shaw, honorary operations manager for Harwich lifeboat, said the crew on board the Siesta had been experienced sailors.

Detective Inspector Nick Greenan, of Kent Police, said they were investigating what appeared to be a “tragic accident”.

He added: “At this point in time the incident does not appear to be suspicious. However, Kent Police is working with the Marine Investigation Board, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and Essex Police's marine unit to determine the circumstances surrounding the man's death.”

Det Supt Greenan said the surviving crew members were being interviewed and a post-mortem examination would be carried out on the dead man, who has not been named.

A spokesman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: “The yacht was being delivered from Spain to Ipswich.

“It had run aground and the man got over the side for whatever reason - perhaps he thought he was going to be able to release it, but he then became trapped.”

james.hore@eadt.co.uk

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