Ill-fated Aegean had headed for island

May 03, 2012, Thursday/ 16:38:00/ REUTERS

A GPS record tracing the path of a yacht that crashed mysteriously while racing from Southern California to Mexico showed the vessel sailing on a collision course into an island, US Coast Guard officials said on Wednesday.

Investigators are exploring whether the 37-foot (11.3-meter) Aegean, whose four crew died when their boat was reduced to rubble last weekend, crashed into one of the Coronado islands or collided with a larger ship, Coast Guard Lieutenant Bill Burwell said. Race organizers said the Aegean disappeared from satellite tracking at about 1:30 a.m. on Saturday, and the US Coast Guard said bodies and debris from the yacht were found near the Coronado islands off the northwestern coast of Mexico. The fatal wreck follows an April 14 sailboat racing accident near the Farallon Islands off the coast of San Francisco that killed five sailors and led the US Coast Guard to temporarily suspend racing in the Pacific Ocean off northern California. The Aegean sailors set off from Southern California last Friday to compete in the 65-year-old Newport to Ensenada Race.

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