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Trans-Atlantic tragedy

MAY 19 — A Dutch sailor aboard one of the yachts competing in the Volvo Ocean Racedied after falling overboard about 1,300 miles from England.

Hans Horrevoets, who was 32 and a helmsman/trimmer on ABN Amro Two, was trimming the spinnaker sheet Thursday morning in 30-knot winds and 16-foot seas, according to information on the team’s Web site. The boat apparently nosedived down a wave and seas washed over the deck. When the water cleared, Horrevoets was gone.

Skipper Sebastien Josse, who was at the helm, initiated man overboard procedures and steered the boat around to search for Horrevoets, navigator Simon Fisher explains in a news release. The crew spotted Horrevoets in the water and pulled him aboard the boat. Horrevoets was airlifted to a hospital in Plymouth, England, where he died.

“We are all devastated by the events that took place this morning and all our thoughts are for Hans’ family,” Josse says in the release. “Throughout the whole MOB procedure the whole crew handled themselves calmly, professionally and with the utmost maturity. It is with deep regret that we were unable to resuscitate Hans.”

Horrevoets, who was the oldest crewmember aboard ABN Amro Two, is survived by his wife and a young daughter, news reports say. He is the fifth person to die since the race began in 1973-74, when it was called the Whitbread.

The Volvo Ocean Race yachts are competing in Leg 7, a trans-Atlantic passage from New York to Portsmouth. ABN Amro Two has dropped out of the leg, according to the team’s Web site. Team leaders will decide during the Portsmouth layover whether they will continue to compete in the final two legs of the race.

—Jason Fell