Two die in yacht club tragedy

By Jonathan BarnesA YACHT club was in mourning last night following the death of two men whose bodies were found in a marina.Boat owner Max Pennington, who was aged in his 70s, and his friend, who has not yet been named, are believed to have drowned at Levington Marina, on the River Orwell, in the early hours of yesterday.

By Jonathan Barnes

A YACHT club was in mourning last night following the death of two men whose bodies were found in a marina.

Boat owner Max Pennington, who was aged in his 70s, and his friend, who has not yet been named, are believed to have drowned at Levington Marina, on the River Orwell, in the early hours of yesterday.

They were staying aboard Mr Pennington's yacht, Genoa, after attending a dinner to mark the opening of Haven Ports Yacht Club's season.

Suffolk police were last night breaking the news to relatives of the dead men. Mr Pennington, who is understood to be from the Attleborough area of Norfolk, is believed to have been a club member for two or three years and a member of a Norfolk bridge club.

The alarm was raised just before 6.10am yesterday when a third man who was aboard the moored yacht reported his friends missing.

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He had last seen the pair at midnight on Saturday before he went to bed. The three had been at the club's annual Fitting Out supper at the lightship bar on the marina.

A body was found in the water before police arrived and a second was discovered shortly afterwards following a search involving coastguards. Both men are believed to have been aged in their 70s.

Suffolk police are treating the deaths as unexplained, although a spokeswoman said there was nothing to suggest suspicious circumstances. Post-mortem examinations will be held at Ipswich Hospital today.

Members of the yacht club told of their shock and sorrow at the deaths and yesterday's races were cancelled as a mark of respect.

Father Haley Dossor, whose wife Liz is commodore of the club, said: "We are deeply shocked that people should have lost their lives in this terrible accident."

Fr Dossor, priest-in-charge at St Mary at the Elms in Ipswich, added: "We offer our condolences to their families and friends."

Nigel Mower, vice-commodore of the club, said: "It's a terrible tragedy and very distressing. We'd had such a good night. They were in the bar and enjoying themselves."

Club president, Mike Spear, added: "We are extremely sorry that something like this has happened. It is very sad and we just don't know how it happened. Lots of people stayed over in their yachts after the annual Fitting Out supper."

jonathan.barnes@eadt.co.uk

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