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Chaotic scene as rescuers race to boat accident that killed 2 in San Diego Bay

Witnesses described a chaotic scene on San Diego Bay after a sailboat capsized Sunday evening, drowning two men and injuring eight others.

The boat, initially reported to be a 35-foot rental, ran into unknown trouble shortly after 5 p.m. near Harbor Island. It was not immediately clear why the boat overturned, said Marguerite Elicone, a spokeswoman for the San Diego Port Authority, which oversees the Harbor Police, the agency investigating the accident.

San Diego Fire-Rescue spokesman Maurice Luque said there was no immediate indication that another boat was involved. Elicone said weather conditions had been fairly mild Sunday, though winds can kick up in the area in late afternoon.

Witnesses said boaters on the bay came to the immediate aid of the victims, and that authorities quickly arrived at the scene.

"It's very hard to think about," witness Dick Mills told Fox 5 San Diego. "As soon as police came, they began to do CPR on them," he said of the two men who died.

"I couldn't see the boat. I just saw them pulling people onto the launch, doing CPR, and a lot of people screaming and yelling," boater Ty Alicot, told the San Diego Union-Tribune. "It's pretty hard to turn over a sailboat that big."

The most seriously injured of the survivors was a woman who remained in the intensive-care unit at UC San Diego Medical Center, where she was being treated for hypothermia, Elicone said.

All 10 people on board were in the water when Harbor Police officers arrived a few minutes after the accident.

Most of the victims were members of one family, including some children, Luque said. Identities of the two men killed were not released, but both were described as in their 50s or 60s. Both were pronounced dead at a rescue command center on nearby Shelter Island, where approximately 60 emergency workers took the victims from rescue boats, Luque said.

The injured children appeared to be about 10 to 12 years old, Luque said. The survivors were taken to Scripps Mercy Hospital and the UC San Diego facility.


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Photo credit: Fox 5 San Diego

Comments () | Archives (12)

I doubt that there is a 35 foot sailboat that is not a keelboat that can be rented. The boat shown upside down in the picture has no keel, is a flat bottomed boat. Any keelboat of that size would be essentially impossible to capsize in such conditions.

There is more detail needed.

What a tragedy. 35 foot sailboat should have a keel. It is what keeps the boat upright with mast and sail. If it is a rental it is a major liability for that company.

A water temperature of 10 °C (50 °F) often leads to death in one hour, and water temperatures close at freezing 0 °C (32 °F) can lead to death in as little as 15 minutes. Water at a temperature of 80 °F will, after prolonged exposure (several hours), lead to hypothermia. If San Diego water temperature was between 44 °F to 55 °F, than it took more than 30 minutes for emergency services to pull them out from the water. Slow respond time. Firefighter’s captain says 10 or more emergency cars are responded. You need one, but on time. Probably is more helpful. Sorry, for the deceased people and families.

I wonder if alcohol was involved?

this indeed is boat rented from a sailing club on the backside of harbor island....i watch these rentals go out and return....80% of them are not helmsmen..they should have a lot more training before they take a boat out of its slip...sad

I also agree that it looks like this was a flat-bottomed boat. My questions is....were there PFDs on board? Even the best of swimmers in children and adults should be required to wear a PFD while sailing/boating, no matter the conditions. So sad for such a nice outing.

The absence of a keel in the picture may not be determinate. It could have a swing keel that was improperly secured. And, because the story doesn't identify the type of sailboat, the length may not be what is reported at first. There are many 25' swing keel boats designed for trailering.

That sailboat lost it's keel. If you look at upturned hull there is no keel visible. Loss of keel would make it go upside down very fast.

I agree with the two previous posters...no keel?? Perhaps the boat struck something and the keel was torn off (highly improbable...but possible). No way this was a centerboard boat...
Very sad...very currious.

I wish some news outfit would report what kind of boat this is. There is no keel, was it a centerboarder? I doubt it as a centerboarder that big should have a stub keel. Did it have a keel and it fell off?

The only way for me to know is to drive down to San Diego, walk out the dock where they rent boats and look for myself.

I guess we accept partial and badly reported stories as being better than the Fox version of the news where they make stuff up and blame everything on politicians that don't belong to the political party approved by a foreign owner.

I used to work at a place that rented sailboats while in college. I can tell you most renters are out of their element to some degree. But no rental boat should be able to capsize and I doubt that one could if it hadn't had a failure.

I believe the boat was a "macgregor 26" with water ballast,and a drop keel
a few things, the water ballast. This means it has tanks low down in the bottom of the hull that you fill with water. this makes the baot more stable.
"If" not ballasted the boat will be less stable and easier to capsize.
if the keel was lifted up , the boat again would be less stable.
Also, 10 people, 8 of them being adults, is a sign that for a 26 foot boat very unsafe, very overloaded.
The skipper is ultimately responsible to know these things.

What a terrible tragedy. Our hearts go out to the victims and their families.


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