One Dead, Five Rescued After Sailboat Accident in Southern California

This video shows the US Coast Guard rescue of UNCONTROLLABLE URGE crewmembers after the 32-foot sailboat lost its steering capability and broke apart after drifting toward San Clemente Island in Southern California. Five crewmembers were saved, but 36-year-old Craig Thomas Williams died. He was unresponsive in the water when the Coast Guard reached the crew.

The crewmembers were participating in the Islands Race, an overnight, 139-nautical-mile race beginning in Newport Harbor in Orange County Friday and concluding in San Diego’s Point Loma. The race takes participants around Catalina and San Clemente islands, and San Diego Yacht Club commodore Chuck Hope told the Associated Press that UNCONTROLLABLE URGE was “buffeted by 8-foot swells and wind gusts of 20 to 30 knots.” Hope said the fatal accident was “not an isolated incident,” and stormy conditions caused equipment failures for two other boats.

The AP noted that Williams’ death came almost one year after five sailors died in accident near the Farallon Islands off Northern California when their 38-foot yacht smashed into rocks and capsized during a race after being hit by powerful waves. Two weeks after that incident, four other sailors were killed when the 37-foot sailboat AEGEAN ran aground on North Coronado Island during a race from Southern California to Mexico.

Latti & Anderson LLP has been helping individuals injured at sea and the families of those killed on the water for more than a half-century. Our firm thoroughly investigates maritime accidents, helps victims with various aspects of their recoveries and works to obtain the compensation they deserve. Additional information about recreational boating accidents is available on our website, and you can contact our firm at (800) 392-6072 to schedule a free consultation or complete the form on this page to have our Boston maritime trial lawyers review your case if you or a loved one sustained catastrophic injuries in an accident at sea.

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