Vestas 11th Hour Racing collided with a fishing vessel during Leg 4 of the race, resulting in a fatality
Vestas 11th Hour Racing collided with a fishing vessel during Leg 4 of the race in Hong Kong. A man on the commercial vessel lost his life in the accident.
Organisers of the Volvo Ocean Race posted the following message on their website:
“On behalf of the Volvo Ocean Race and Vestas 11th Hour Racing, we offer our deepest condolences to the loved ones of the deceased.
“The incident occurred approximately 30 miles from the finish of Leg 4, outside of Hong Kong waters. Race Control at Volvo Ocean Race headquarters was informed of the collision by the team moments after it happened at approximately 17:23 UTC on Friday January 19, 2018 (01:23 local time on Saturday morning).
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“The Vestas 11th Hour Racing team, none of whom were injured in the collision, issued a Mayday distress call on behalf of the other vessel, alerting the Hong Kong Marine Rescue Coordination Centre (HKMRCC) and undertook a search and rescue mission.
“HKMRCC informed Race Control that a commercial vessel in the area was able to rescue nine of the crew and that a tenth crew member was taken by helicopter to hospital. HKMRCC has since confirmed the death of the air-lifted crew member.
“Volvo Ocean Race and Vestas 11th Hour Racing are now focused on providing immediate support to those affected by this incident.
“All involved organisations are co-operating with the authorities and are fully supporting the ongoing investigation.”
Phil Lawrence, Race Director for the Volvo Ocean Race, said in an interview on the event’s website:
“First of all, we know a man lost his life, tragically, after an incident with one of our race boats. We offer our deepest condolences to his loved ones and family. We are relieved that the nine other mariners on board were rescued and initial reports have them in good condition.
“In terms of what happened, we know a collision occurred shortly before 1723 UTC (which is when Race Control received the first message from Vestas 11th Hour Racing) between Vestas 11th Hour Racing and a non-racing vessel. The incident took place around 30 miles from the Leg 4 finish line in Hong Kong.
“Vestas 11th Hour Racing immediately stopped racing, informed us at Race Control of the incident (at 1736 UTC), sent a Mayday distress signal on behalf of the other vessel and aided in the search and rescue mission.
“Hong Kong Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre informed Race Control that a nearby commercial vessel had rescued nine of the crew from the other boat, and a tenth was taken to hospital by helicopter after he had been rescued from the water by the Vestas 11th Hour Racing crew. We’re deeply saddened to report that Hong Kong MRCC confirmed the death of that airlifted crewmember later on Saturday morning.”
The Vestas 11th Hour Racing team was safe and uninjured but the boat suffered damage to its hull.