Coroner: Human error caused yacht-racing crash deaths

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Nothing could have been done to prevent the deaths of two experienced Australian sailors in a yacht-racing accident at Flinders Islet, New South Wales, Australia, an inquest heard.

Veteran skipper Andrew Short, a 48-year-old father of five, and his 47-year-old navigator, Sally Gordon, drowned Oct. 10, 2009, when the 25m maxi Shockwave crashed into rocks.

The tragedy happened at 2.45 a.m. as they took part in a lead-up to the Sydney to Hobart race with a seasoned crew aboard.

Click here for an in-depth analysis of the accident that was published in the November 2010 issue of Soundings.

Deputy state coroner Carmel Forbes said human error was to blame and that nothing can be done to ensure that no similar tragedy occurs in the future.

Click here for the full report in the Illawarra Mercury.

A report by the Australian newspaper Herald Sun indicated that fatigue may have been a deciding factor in the accident.

Click here for that report.