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US Sailing to review fatal yacht race accident

Associated Press Modified: May 14, 2012 at 5:02 pm •  Published: May 14, 2012

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Sailing's national governing body will try to determine what caused an accident that killed four sailors during last month's yacht race from Southern California to Mexico.

US Sailing has appointed an independent review panel to look into the destruction of the 37-foot sailboat Aegean during the annual overnight Newport-to-Ensenada Yacht Race, the organization said Monday.

The 37-foot boat was smashed to pieces near Mexico's Coronado Islands before dawn on April 28.

The small size of the pieces led to speculation that the Aegean was struck by a large vessel such as a freighter. However, a GPS track of the boat led straight to the islands, which rise sharply out of the Pacific south of San Diego. That has led to the suggestion that the boat struck the rocks during the night and was pounded to pieces.

The accident killed the captain, Theo Mavromatis, 49, of Redondo Beach, and crewmembers Kevin Eric Rudolph, 53, of Manhattan Beach; William Reed Johnson Jr., 57, of Torrance; and Joseph Lester Stewart, 64, of Bradenton, Fla.

They were the first deaths in the 65-year history of the race.

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