Newport Ensenada Race Accident Leaves 3 Dead, 1 Missing

An accident off the coast of California during the Lexus Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race left three crewmembers of Aegean dead and one missing, the first fatalities in the race’s history.
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An accident off the coast of California during the Lexus Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race left three crewmembers of Aegean dead and one missing, the first fatalities in the race’s history.

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According to a press release from the Newport Ocean Sailing Association (NOSA), the boat’s tracking signal disappeared around 0130 on April 28. Several hours later, the US Coast Guard discovered the boat’s splintered remains.

News sources say Aegean appears to have collided with a much larger vessel. The race, which runs 125 miles from Newport Beach, CA, to Ensenada, Mexico, runs overnight and passes through shipping lanes, making the scenario highly possible.

But new information has come to light that posits a different theory about the cause of the accident. GPS tracking information from Aegean suggests that the vessel landed on the Coronado Islands. A boat hitting the sheer cliffs of North Coronado Island, with no beaches to reduce its speed, could cause great damage to the vessel. While progress has been made, officials are still investigating what led to the four crewmembers' deaths.

The sailors involved were identified as William Reed Johnson Jr., 57, from Torrance, CA; Joseph Lester Stewart, 64, from Bradenton, FL; and Kevin Eric Rudolph, 53 from Manhattan Beach, CA. Theo Mavromatis, 49, is still missing.

Photo by the US Coast Guard

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