One of Europe’s richest women Dona Bertarelli aboard boat involved in crash that could result in life-changing surgery for female crew member

Incident occurred at the start of the Lorient to Gothenberg leg of the Volvo Ocean Race

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Fears that life-changing surgery may be required for a woman crew of a marshall boat at Tuesday’s start of the Lorient to Gothenberg leg of the Volvo round the world race continued on Wednesday.

The rigid inflatable boat was in collision with the 130-foot trimaran Spindrift II, which had skipper Yann Guichard on board along with Dona Bertarelli, one of Europe’s richest women and sister of former Swiss America’s Cup holder Ernesto Bertarelli.

The woman, so far un-named was, was given immediate first aid before being taken by helicopter to the Scorff hospital in Lorient.

“Above all else, we are concerned about the condition of the injured person,” said Guichard. “All out thoughts go out to her and her family. The team has been deeply affected by the accident and naturally we are cooperating fully with the investigation that is underway.”

The giant trimaran was under reduced sail at the time, but it is one of the fastest sailing boats in the world and its programme includes the Rolex Fastnet Race from Cowes, finishing in Plymouth, in August.

In its own statement, the Volvo race organisers said: “On Tuesday, June 16th 2015, at around 4:15 PM, the CROSS* Etel was notified of a collision in the starting area of Leg 9 of the Volvo Ocean Race in Lorient, between the multihull "Spindrift" (non-competitor) and a race organiser’s rib with four people onboard.

“A passenger on the rib received leg injuries in the collision and was supported onsite by SNSM** semi-rigid boats SNS 704 and SNS 722 based in St Nazaire. After a conference call between the SAMU*** Medical Coordination Centre (SCMM 64) in Bayonne and CROSS Etel, it was decided to evacuate the injured person to the nearest hospital.The civil security medical helicopter “Dragon 56” was immediately dispatched. The injured woman was airlifted at approximately 5:11 pm and transported to Scorff Hospital in Lorient were she was treated by medical staff at 5:16 pm.”

In Torbay, a shortened third leg of the Figaro Solitaire race was won by Yann Eliès. The course from Concarneau had been due to take the 39-boat fleet round the Fastnet Rock but was shortened by 200 miles when the Wolf Rock was substituted.

Top British competitor was Alan Roberts in Magma Structures, who was ninth, making him 13 overall, and the top British competitor after three legs is Jack Bouttell, backed by GAC Concise, who is 11.