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1 Dead, 4 Missing in CA Yacht Accident

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on April 18, 2012 10:03 AM

A devastating yacht accident off the cost of San Francisco has left one dead and four missing. After 30 hours, the Coast Guard suspended its search for the missing crewmembers, who are likely to be presumed dead.

The group, along with the yacht's owner and three other crewmembers, were participating in the Full Crew Farallones Race, which is known for its rougher water conditions. Witnesses reported seeing a strong wave sweep some crewmembers from the boat. When the others turned around to get them, a wave flung the rest into the water and slammed the yacht into nearby rocks.

The Coast Guard has yet to announce whether it will further investigate the yacht accident for signs of negligence, or if investigators believe skipper James Bradford did all he could do. This determination will be essential should the family members of the dead or missing crewmembers want to sue.

Thus far, it seems this latter option is likely. Crewmembers on another boat witnessed the tragic events, according to the Los Angeles Times. They watched in horror, but were unable to help due to safety concerns. By that point, Bradford’s yacht had been pushed too close to the rocks.

The weather conditions also suggest that the yacht accident was unavoidable. Some boats had already turned back, reports the Times, deciding not to brave the 25-knot winds and 15-foot waves. If the crew chose to continue under these conditions, then they assumed the risk that tragedy could strike.

So as it stands, it’s unlikely that Saturday’s yacht accident will result in any lawsuits.

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