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Debris from the Aegean on board a boat involved in the search operation. AP Photo/Elliot Spagat/PA Images
yacht race

Three killed in US yacht race

Search continues for fourth crew member after yacht apparently collided with another vessel off the coast of California.

THREE PEOPLE HAVE died after their yacht was apparently involved in a serious collision during a boat race off the California coast on Saturday, just weeks after five people died when their yacht capsized off San Francisco.

A search is continuing for a fourth crew member from the Aegean yacht, which was participating in a race from Newport Beach in California to Ensenada, Mexico at the weekend.

One of those involved in the search said the debris from the 37-foot yacht looked “like it had gone through a blender”, suggesting that it had collided with a much larger vessel.

Searchers said the debris pattern was different to that they had seen from boats which struck rocks.

Race organisers said that conditions were lighter than normal at the time of the incident.

Rich Roberts, spokesperson for race organiser the Newport Ocean Sailing Association (NOSA), said that the race passes through shipping lanes and it is possible for a large ship to strike a sail boat without realising it.

The US Coast Guard, Mexican Navy and the NOSA are all involved in the search and the investigation into the cause of the accident.

Over 200 boats were registered for the race, which ended yesterday, and the organisers say these are the first fatalities in its 65-year history.

Two Irish men were among the victims of the recent yachting accident off San Francisco. The city has temporarily suspended races in ocean waters outside the bay to study the accident and race procedures.

- Additional reporting by the AP

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