Skipper's body found after fatal US yacht tragedy

Agence France-Presse

Posted at May 10 2012 02:09 AM | Updated as of May 10 2012 10:09 AM

LOS ANGELES - The body of a missing yacht captain has been found at sea, 10 days after his boat broke up and sank mysteriously off the Mexican coast, killing all four on board, US officials said Tuesday.

A fisherman spotted a body near Mexico's Coronado Islands on Sunday. It was sent for examination and has been positively identified as that of 49-year-old Theo Mavromatis, the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office said.

Cause of death was listed as blunt force trauma, the same as two of the other three fatalities from the boat, which appeared to have disintegrated in a collision with a much larger vessel. The fourth victim drowned.

The bodies of three crew members were recovered within hours of the "Aegean" being reported missing on April 28 near the Coronado Islands, off the coast of Baja California just south of the US-Mexico border.

The captain had been listed as missing but presumed dead after US Coast Guard and Mexican rescuers called off a search.

The boat was taking part in a race from Newport, California, to Ensenada, Mexico, and was reported missing around 1:30 am.

Debris from the yacht was reported near the Coronado Islands. The Newport Ocean Sailing Association said it appeared the damage was inflicted by a collision with a ship much larger than the 37-foot vessel.

The US Coast Guard launched an investigation into the cause of the incident, but have so far not determined what the yacht might have collided with.

In theory it was equipped with radar equipment able to warn about ships in the vicinity. The site is near major shipping lanes for vessels approaching or leaving the major ports of San Diego or Long Beach.

Experts have speculated that some vessels are so much bigger that they may simply have not noticed a collision with the relatively tiny sailing vessel, at night.

The fatalities were the first in the 65-year history of the yearly California-to-Mexico yacht race, according to organizers.

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