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Charges filed in Cheeki Rafiki deaths

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By Triton Staff

Douglas Innes, a director of the UK-based yacht management firm for S/Y Cheeki Rafiki, has been charged with four counts of gross negligence manslaughter in the deaths of the sailors who perished on May 16, 2014, when their 40-foot sailboat lost its keel and capsized en route to Britain from Antigua.

Following its two-year investigation, the Maritime & Coastguard Agency authorized the charges against Innes and his management company, Stormforce Coaching Limited, on Oct. 7.

Skipper Andrew Bridge, 22, and crew James Male, 23, Steve Warren, 52, and Paul Goslin, 56, died when the Cheeki Rafiki lost its keel 720nm east-southeast of Nova Scotia. Their bodies have never been found. Although photos were taken of the upturned hull, it was not recovered and is assumed to have sunk.

Innes and a representative of Stormforce Coaching will appear in court on Nov. 3.

The UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch investigated the incident and released a 76-page report, according to a report in Sail World. It stated that the keel had broken away from the hull and that photos showed the after keel bolt of the four was rusty, and could have been fractured.

To read more about that report and the key safety issues identified within, click here.

In July, surveyor Capt. E.S. Geary wrote an article in The Triton predicting that charges would be filed as, in his estimation, the incident was no accident.

 

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