SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS/KPIX 5) – An America’s Cup racing boat crew member died and another was hurt when their catamaran overturned on San Francisco Bay Thursday afternoon during a practice run.
The 36-year-old deceased sailor, identified as Olympic gold medalist Andrew “Bart” Simpson of the United Kingdom, was “well-known and regarded as an expert racer,” said San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White.
Rescuers estimated Simpson had been underwater for about 10 minutes after becoming trapped under the 72-foot Artemis Racing AC-72 vessel when it capsized around 1 p.m. within sight of the Ferry Building and Treasure Island.
Simpson was pulled from the Bay near the St. Francis Yacht Club and Hayes-White said he was pronounced dead there after 20 minutes of cardiopulmonary resuscitation efforts failed to revive him. Another sailor suffered a laceration but was not seriously injured.
A Team Oracle boat was nearby at the time of the capsize and picked up the ten uninjured Artemis Racing crew members and transported them back to Artemis headquarters in Alameda.
It was unclear what caused the boat to capsize; U.S. Coast Guard and fire officials noted there were afternoon winds of between 15 and 20 knots on the Bay – which they said are considered high, but not excessive.