BREAKING: One dead after Artemis racing boat capsizes in SF Bay
One of Artemis Racing's racing boats capsizes in the Bay. Photo by Dave Bloch.
Updated at 6:26 p.m. Thursday, May 9
One person is dead and another was injured when a 72-foot racing catamaran crewed by Artemis Racing capsized during a training run for the America's Cup Thursday on San Francisco Bay.
Artemis Racing identified the victim as Andrew "Bart" Simpson, a British double Olympic medalist. Simpson is listed on the team's website as its strategist.
“The entire Artemis Racing team is devastated by what happened,” Artemis CEO Paul Cayard was quoted as saying on Artemis' Americas Cup website. “Our heartfelt condolences are with Andrew’s wife and family.”
At a brief press conference Thursday evening, a shaken Cayard expressed the shock of the Artemis organization, saying that "the boat is under control" but that "we're focused on the people."
Kame Richards of Pineapple Sails said Simpson had just been hired by the team and had only been here for a few weeks when tragedy struck. Richards said Simpson had a wife and two small children.
Artemis' website says Simpson was trapped under the boat and that doctors "afloat and subsequently ashore" attempted but failed to revive him. The America's Cup website is reporting that the crew member who died was trapped under the catamaran's platform for an estimated 10 minutes.
A San Francisco Fire Department spokeswoman said a second person sustained cuts but is stable and others aboard the racing boat were not injured. Emergency personnel and the America's Cup have offered varying reports of the number of people aboard the catamaran, saying between 11 and 13 people were on the racing boat when it sank.
Support boats for the Alameda Point-based Artemis and Oracle racing teams rescued Artemis' crew after the catamaran capsized, at about 1 p.m. Thursday northwest of Treasure Island; they were transported to the St. Francis Yacht Club, U.S. Coast Guard spokeswoman Pamela Boehland said.
Boehland said the AC72 is still in the water and that the Coast Guard has set up a 100-yard safety zone around it. It's not yet clear what caused the multi-hulled 72-foot catamaran to capsize.
Artemis is one of two on Alameda Point, and four competing in the Americas Cup races scheduled to begin on July 4. The Italian Luna Rossa team is also based at the Point.
Earlier Thursday, the team posted this photo on Twitter as they prepared to launch the AC72 from Alameda Point, where the Swedish team has set up shop.
"A small gathering before dock-off. Good breeze and sunny conditions today on #SFbay," they wrote.
NBC Bay Area was running a live video feed of the rescue effort.
The Artemis yacht is the second to capsize in the Bay during the Americas Cup. The defending Oracle team's racing boat capsized in October 2012. The 72-foot catamaran is new to the America's Cup race and is billed by the Cup's runners as "an essential element of the vision for the 34th America’s Cup," designed to be fast and nimble, and also easy to assemble and take apart.
America's Cup crews raced a smaller, 45-foot version of the catamaran in 2011 and 2012, the Cup website says.
Dave Bloch contributed to this report.