Sailor killed in US yacht race

Updated: 

Sailor killed in US yacht race

A sailor died and five crew members had to be rescued after they refused help from the coastguard when they ran into trouble during a two-day US yacht race.

Sky News reports that the crew of Uncontrollable Urge send a mayday call on Friday night after the 32-foot boat lost its steering capacity and began drifting towards rocky San Clemente Island, which is off the coast of Southern California.

The crew declined assistance, but asked to be towed to calmer waters so that they could finish the race.

However, stormy conditions meant that the towboat couldn't reach the yacht. Then, both the life raft and anchor failed and the vessel was torn apart on rocks.

Chick Hope, who is one of the organisers of the two-day Islands Race, told Sky News: "They were not in immediate danger and thought they would be able to manage completing the race and get assistance on their own. Then things got worse."

He added: "Those guys had been around, they're very good sailors. This was not a case of someone getting in over their head."

He explained that the boat was hit by 8m swells and wind gusts of up to 55kph.

When the Coast Guard reached the crew they found the sailor 36-year-old Craig Williams, unresponsive in the water. He and the other five crew members were flown by helicopter to hospital.

The 139-nautical-mile race began in Newport Harbour in Orange County on Friday, and was to finish at San Diego's Point Loma.

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