Police and America's Cup director launch inquiries into Andrew Simpson's death

 

Los Angeles

Two inquiries have been set up into the death on Thursday of Olympic sailing gold medallist Andrew Simpson while training with the Swedish America's Cup challenger Artemis on San Francisco Bay.

The first will be led by the San Francisco police, who investigated an April 2012 accident in a race off California and Mexico, when four crew of a 37-foot Aegean yacht died.

A second investigation will be led by the America's Cup director of racing, the Australian Iain Murray, a former America's Cup yacht designer and skipper.

The Artemis team boss, Torbjorn Torqvist, said: "Our thoughts are with Andrew's family, who suffered a tragic loss. Right now the primary focus is on the well-being of our team members and their families and the America's Cup competition will remain second to that."

Artemis said they will hold their own review to look at how risks can be limited in the future.

There has been considerable scepticism about the new boats, the design of which is chosen by the team defending the Cup, this year the Oracle Racing Team USA, run by the New Zealander Sir Russell Coutts and bankrolled by one of America's richest man Larry Ellison. The design is then imposed on the three challengers. Many believe that the 72-foot catamarans with 130-foot solid wing sails are too dangerous. They are monstrously powerful, very tricky to handle, and take huge physical agility.

The wreckage of the Artemis is at the coastguard station, where police will seek to reconstruct the accident using the yacht and interviews with witnesses. A police spokesman said: "It will be at least a week or more before they figure out what happened."

Last year's fatal accident led to a ban on all off-shore racing in California until the coastguard investigation was complete. That ban has now been lifted. As yet the staging of the 34th America's Cup, due to take place off San Francisco in September, has not been threatened. The port authority and the coastguard may be involved, but first the police need to eliminate a criminal cause or culpability.

It is reported that a second challenger, the Prada-backed Italian team Luna Rossa, where Olympic medallist Chris Draper is helmsman, has been told by its boss Patrizio Bertelli that the crew can ask to withdraw and he will respect their decision.

Simpson won a gold medal alongside Iain Percy in Beijing in 2008 and the pair won silver in London last year. Percy, accompanied Simpson's wife Leah home on the flight from San Francisco last night.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003