Search Called Off After Farallon Accident - NBC Bay Area

Search Called Off After Farallon Accident

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



    Organizers for a yacht race that resulted in a fatal boating accident Saturday were still waiting last night for word on the fate of some race participants. One person was dead and three others were still missing Saturday after the Low Speed Chase, a 38-foot yacht, ran aground in the Farallon Islands during the 2012 Full Crew Farallones Race. (Published Monday, April 16, 2012)

    The U.S. Coast Guard called off its search at sunset on Sunday after four sailors went missing Saturday after a yacht struck the rocks near the Farallon Islands during a race. One sailor, from Belvedere, died in the racing accident.

    The Coast Guard and Air National Guard searched an area of more than 5,000 square miles over a period of more than 30 hours following the fatal boating accident Saturday afternoon, Petty Officer Caleb Critchfield said.

    No sign of the missing four sailors was spotted and no one was recovered. The names of the missing include: Alexis Busch of Lakrspur, Jordan Fromm, 25 of Kentfield, Alan Cahill of Tiburon and Elmer Morrissey of Ireland.

    "The Coast Guard would like to extend our condolences to the friends and family of the missing," Critchfield said.

    One Dead, 4 Missing In Boat Accident Near Farallon Islands

    [BAY] One Dead, 4 Missing In Boat Accident Near Farallon Islands
    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.
    (Published Sunday, April 15, 2012)

    Marc Kasanin, 46 of Belvedere was pronounced dead after being pulled from the water.

    There were eight people on board the boat and the participants were said to be experienced sailors.

    Three people - Nick Vos of Sonoma, Brian Chong of Tiburon and James Bradford, 41 of Nashville - were rescued after the crash. 

    The boat's owner and captain, James Bradford, was among the three survivors whom the U.S. Coast Guard, assisted by National Guard helicopters, pulled from one of the islands about 300 feet from their damaged vessel. Bradford and another crew member were briefly treated at a hospital, while the third survivor remained hospitalized with a broken leg and contusions, San Francisco Yacht Club director Ed Lynch said.

    In a statement issued Monday by America's Cup to the family and friends of the Low Speed Chase, representatives offered their "deepest condolences" to the family and crew who died this weekend. "As sailors, we are all one family, and our hearts are with those affected..."

    The Coast Guard petty officer Levi Read said that a big wave hit the boat knocking four people off. 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 it to crash into the rocks of the Fallallon Islands.

    During the collision with the rocks, the captain apparently lost control of the boat completely.

    Somehow three people on the boat 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 the 38-foot sailing vessel called the Low Speed Chase, were participating in the 2012 Full Crew Farallones Race that began at the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco.

    The association web site only listed the crew as "young people." The boat's home base was the San Francisco Yacht Club in Belvedere. A Facebook page titled In Memory of Low Speed Chase was posted Sunday afternoon. The yacht club said it would hold a private memorial for the victims Sunday night.

    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 (pictured below left). The search spanned both Saturday and Sunday.

    A man who identified himself as Captain Joe took the photo to the right on Sunday. It shows the Low Speed Chase on the rocks of the island.

    More than 60 boats 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.

    "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.

    The boat remained on the rocks of the Farrallon Islands according to the Coast Guard. It was not clear if it was seaworthy enough to be towed back to the Golden Gate.

    The Farrallon Islands are 26 miles outside the Golden Gate.

    Bay City News contributed to this report.