3 Dead, 1 Missing in Newport to Ensenada Regatta

The sailboat was involved in a race from Newport to Ensenada, Mexico, when it disappeared

Three people are dead and one is still missing after a sailboat racing from Newport, Calif. to Ensenada, Mexico, disappeared Saturday.

Race officials called the U.S. Coast Guard to report The Aegean, a 37-foot sailboat, was missing.

According to race officials from the Newport Ocean Sailing Association (NOSA), the first indication of the incident was at 1:30 a.m. Saturday, when the boat's image vanished from the online race tracking system in place for the race.

Around 10 a.m. vessels near the Coronado Islands, Mexico reported seeing debris in the water.

A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter was launched along with a response boat to search the area, and, according to NOSA that search led to the discovery of The Aegean's wreckage, including the rear transom with the boat's name on it.

The bodies of three crew members from the vessel were found Saturday afternoon and have been turned over to the San Diego County Coroner, according to a USCG news release.

The search for the remaining sailboat crew member continued Saturday night with Coast Guard crews aboard a Jayhawk helicopter, a 45-foot Response Boat, and a C-130 Hercules aircraft as well as the Coast Guard Cutter Sea Otter, a Mexican Navy vessel and civilian vessels, the USCG release stated.

The search spanned more than 500-square-miles.

Around 7 a.m. Sunday morning, aerial searches resumed, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

An updated release from the USCG sent around 1:30 p.m. Sunday confirmed that investigators had not yet determined the cause of the incident.

USCG Capt. Sean Mahoney, Commander, Sector San Diego, released this statement on Sunday: "Our Coast Guard members feel for the family and friends of these sailors and we continue to keep them on our thoughts and prayers."

NOSA also released a statement, saying: “We have learned that a tragedy occurred early Saturday morning during the Newport to Ensenada Race to the sailboat Aegean, and at least three of the crew have died. NOSA is working with the U.S. Coast Guard, Vessel Assist, and the Mexican Navy to find survivors and to determine details of the accident. NOSA and all of our racers send our condolences to the families of the sailors of the Aegean.”

NOSA officials said the owner and skipper of the Aegean is a man named Theo Mavromatis, but it is still unknown if he was one of the victims in the accident.

The three bodies retrieved by the USCG thus far have not been identified.

NOSA said this race started off Newport Beach on Friday during the day, with many vessels finishing in Ensenada Saturday. The last boats racing were due to finish by Sunday.

According to NOSA, these are the first-ever fatalities in the 65-year-history of the race. Race officials said 213 boats were entered in the Lexus Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race this year.

Check back for updates on this developing story. 

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