Father, son die in San Diego sailboat expedition - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Father, son die in San Diego sailboat expedition

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Bodies are seen covered on a dock in San Diego, Calif. Sunday, March 27, 2011, after a sailboat with nine people aboard capsized and sank in the San Diego Bay, leaving two men drowned and seven people injured, authorities said. (AP Photo/Jim Grant) Bodies are seen covered on a dock in San Diego, Calif. Sunday, March 27, 2011, after a sailboat with nine people aboard capsized and sank in the San Diego Bay, leaving two men drowned and seven people injured, authorities said. (AP Photo/Jim Grant)

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A father and son died when a sailboat carrying 10 people on an excursion organized by a group that helps disabled people capsized in calm water in San Diego Bay, authorities said Monday.

Chao Chen, 73, and his son, Jun Chen, 48, of San Diego died Sunday night, San Diego Harbor police Chief John Bolduc said. Another person, who was not identified, was in serious condition.

Among those thrown into the water were two young adults with undisclosed special needs, and a 10-year-old girl and an 11-year-old boy who were wearing life jackets, authorities said.

Some people on the boat were not wearing life jackets, Balduc said, but authorities had not yet determined how many.

The cause of the mishap remained under investigation, but it appeared no other boats were involved.

The people on the 26-foot boat included seven members of one family and two members of another, along with the driver of the craft. They spoke Cantonese and English.

The excursion was organized by an unidentified Indiana-based group that provides sailing trips for people with disabilities, authorities said.

The accident occurred near a buoy marking the way from a protected inlet to the channel of the bay. Harbor Police and civilian craft arrived within five minutes.

"Although this is a significant tragedy for San Diego — the loss of two lives — it was the heroism of Good Samaritans, Harbor Police officers and San Diego firefighters that led to the rescue of eight people in a very dangerous situation," Bolduc said at a news conference.

The water temperature at the time was in the high 50s, low enough for hypothermia to begin setting in before help arrived.

The capsized boat had a retractable keel, but it was not known what position it was in during the mishap, Bolduc said.

Authorities also were determining how much weight the boat was carrying to determine if it was overloaded.

Chris Tucker, owner of SailTime Channel Islands in Oxnard, said a boat that size should hold six people maximum, but with 10 aboard, there would be scant room for everyone to sit down.

"With that many people, if four people were told to sit over there and the other people got up, that would be enough instability right there," he said. "I'm amazed they didn't sink right where they all got on. That's just overloading the boat."

The boat was carrying five men, three women and two children, authorities said.

The eight injured people were taken to hospitals. The children were released after being treated briefly.

One woman drove herself to the hospital without alerting rescuers, leading to incorrect initial reports that there were only nine people aboard, San Diego Fire-Rescue spokesman Maurice Luque said.

A witness said the rescue scene was chaotic.

"I couldn't see the boat. I just saw them pulling people onto the launch, doing CPR, and a lot of people screaming and yelling," witness Ty Alicot told The San Diego Union-Tribune. "It's pretty hard to turn over a sailboat that big."

Investigators removed the boat from the water and hauled it to the boatyard to examine it.


Associated Press writers Andrew Dalton, Robert Jablon and Gillian Flaccus contributed to this report from Los Angeles.

This is a story update. An earlier story is below.

(CNS) - An investigation was under way Monday into a fatal boat accident in San Diego Bay in which two men drowned and several other people were injured.

The 35-foot sailboat capsized near Shelter Island shortly after 5 p.m. Sunday, San Diego fire-rescue spokesman Maurice Luque said.

Everyone aboard the sailboat at the time was thrown into the water, including three older children, Luque said.

Nearby boaters and Harbor police raced to pull everyone from the water.

Two men believed to be in their 50s died at the scene, Luque said, noting that San Diego fire-rescue took four other people to UCSD Medical Center and three to Scripps Mercy Hospital.

An eighth person later showed up at a hospital, claiming to have been on the boat but it was unclear how she got there and what her injury was, Luque said, adding that Harbor police were handling the investigation.

As of Monday morning, there was speculation that the boat's keel was not deployed, allowing for winds to push the vessel over, according to Luque.

The names of the deceased men were withheld pending notification of next of kin.


This is a story update. The original story is below.

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Ten people were thrown into the waters of San Diego Bay Sunday when their sailboat capsized, leaving two men drowned and eight people injured, authorities said.

The boat flipped over for reasons that remained unclear and then sank near Shelter Island shortly after 5 p.m., San Diego Fire-Rescue spokesman Maurice Luque said.

Harbor police pulled all 10 from the water and took them to a boat dock where some 60 firefighters and paramedics were waiting. Two men in their 50s or 60s were declared dead at the scene and the other eight were taken to local hospitals. Two children were released from the hospital after being treated briefly.

Luque said none of the injuries was life-threatening or critical.

Though just 10 people were reported to be aboard, divers searched the sunken wreckage for any additional victims.

"We are confident that everyone is accounted for," Luque said.

One woman was being treated in intensive care at UCSD Medical Center for hypothermia, said Marguerite Elicone, a spokeswoman for the Port of San Diego, which includes the Harbor Police.

Most of those on board were members of an Asian family, and investigators had to bring in translators to speak to them, Luque said. He did not know what language they spoke. No victims' names were immediately released.

Harbor Police officers were at the 25-foot boat within five minutes after a Navy vessel reported the boat capsized, Elicone said.

"They were pulling people out of the water. There were also civilians assisting in pulling people out of the water," she said.

No other vessels were involved, Elicone said. There were several witnesses but the spokeswoman said she didn't know what they saw.

Harbor police were leading the investigation into the cause. The U.S. Coast Guard also responded to the scene.

Phone messages left for the Coast Guard were not immediately returned.


Associated Press writer Andrew Dalton contributed to this report from Los Angeles.


Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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