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Fatal catamaran accident reports released

The Coast Guard has released a Report of Investigation for each of two fatal catamaran cases that occurred less than four months apart two years ago in Hawaii waters.

A 13-year-old male passenger died Dec. 1, 2006 aboard the Na Hoku II off Diamond Head, and a 48-year-old male passenger died March 25, 2007 aboard the Kiele V off Kaanapali, Maui.

In both cases, the masts of the sailing catamaran failed in strong winds and the victims were struck and killed by the collapsing masts. The cases raised questions regarding the adequacy of mast and rigging design, maintenance, surveys and inspections.

In April and May 2007, Coast Guard inspectors boarded all 59 inspected sailing vessels in Hawaii to conduct detailed examinations as a result of the two fatal cases. Of the 59 vessels inspected during that "surge operation," 41 passed without discrepancies but discrepancies were uncovered in the remaining 18. Of those 18, 11 vessels were found to have serious deficiencies that required action before the Coast Guard would approve the resumption of sail operations.

Each report is available for download as a PDF at