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Yacht may have hit island's rocky shore

Investigators are considering another possible cause of a deadly yacht race accident off the SoCal coast over the weekend.
May 2, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Investigators are considering another possible cause of a deadly yacht race accident off the Southern California coast over the weekend.

The 37-foot yacht, the Aegean, was destroyed while racing from California to Ensenada, Mexico.

It was first thought that the Aegean may have collided with a freighter or some other large ship. But according to a website that tracks boats by GPS, the boat could have hit the rocky shore of an island just past the border.

The Coast Guard has not recovered the GPS device. They continue their investigation of the crash.

Michael Patton, a spokesman for the yacht owner's family, noted the tracking shows the GPS device landed on the rocks but not necessarily the boat. He dismissed the theory that the boat hit rocks because debris found just offshore was too small.

"Look at the destruction of it all," Patton said. "You're talking about it being squished."

According to an autopsy report, the three sailors had blunt force injuries. The San Diego County medical examiner's office said Kevin Rudolph and William Johnson Jr. died from those injuries, while a third sailor, Joseph Stewart, also had blunt force injuries but died from drowning.

The coroner ruled the deaths as accidental.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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