One Dead, Four Missing After Boating Accident Near Farallon Islands

A 38-foot sailing vessel named the Low Speed Chase ran aground during a race around the Farallon Islands.

Sunday, Apr 15, 2012  |  Updated 9:52 AM PDT
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Coast Guard is looking for four people who were involved in boat accident that saw one person die. The accident happened during a yacht race near the Farallon Islands. NBC Bay Area's Monte Francis has the story.

Coast Guard is looking for four people who were involved in boat accident that saw one person die. The accident happened during a yacht race near the Farallon Islands. NBC Bay Area's Monte Francis has the story.

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One person is dead and four others are still missing after a boat involved in a race around the Farallon Islands ran aground Saturday afternoon.

There were eight people on board the boat Saturday afternoon. The participants were said to be experienced sailors.

The Coast Guard petty officer Levi Read said that a big wave hit the boat knocking four people off of the boat. The captain turned the boat around to get the people out of the water and that's when the boat was hit by another wave which caused the boat to crash into the rocks of the Fallallon Islands.

During the collision with the rocks, the captain apparently lost control of the boat completely. It was not clear whether the captain was among the missing Sunday.

Somehow three other people were able to get on to the rocks and were later rescued. It was not clear how the 5th person got into the water.

The Coast Guard said in all eight people on a 38-foot sailing vessel called the Low Speed Chase, were participating in the 2012 Full Crew Farallones Race that began at the St. Francis Yach Club in San Francisco.

The Low Speed Chase was skippered by James Bradford, according to a list of race participants on the association web site. Brown described the crew only as "young people."

The search continued Sunday for the four missing crewmembers.

The accident was reported around 3 p.m. Saturday, according to U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Levi Read.

A helicopter from Air Station San Francisco, an 87-foot cutter and a 47-foot boat from Station Golden Gate went to the scene. They were aided by two Blackhawk helicopters from the 129th Air National Guard unit at Moffett Field.

Three people were rescued, Read said.

One person pulled from the water was pronounced dead.

More than 60 boats had signed up for the annual yacht race, according to the Yacht Racing Association of San Francisco Bay's website.

All other boats returned safely, according to Gerry Brown, chairman of the board.

Conditions on the water were "normal," with 10 foot waves and 25 knot waves, he noted.

Brown and other members of the association, and of the San Francisco Yacht Club, where the Low Speed Chase is based, waited anxiously Saturday night for further word on the missing crew members.

"We offer our thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of the missing crew in hopes they are returned home safely," association executive director Laura Munoz said in a statement.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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