ENSENADA, Mexico - A 37-foot(11.28 metre) racing yacht was reduced to debris after the boat apparently collided with a larger vessel off the coast of California and Mexico, killing three sailors and leaving a fourth missing.
The US Coast Guard, the Mexican navy and civilian vessels scoured the waters off the shore of both countries for the missing sailor from the Aegean, which was taking part in a 124 mile (200km) race that began on Friday from Newport Beach, California, to Ensenada, Mexico. The sailboat, carrying a crew of four, was reported missing on Saturday.
It was California's second deadly accident this month involving an ocean race.
Race officials said they had few explanations for what may have happened to the Aegean other than it must have collided with ship like a freighter or tanker that did not see the smaller vessel. The Coast Guard said conditions were fine for sailing, with good visibility and moderate ocean swells of 6-to-8 feet (2-to-2.5 metres).
If the smaller boat was bobbing around in light wind, the crew might not have been able to get out of the way of a larger ship, perhaps a freighter, said Rich Roberts, a spokesman for the Newport Ocean Sailing Association, the race organiser.
The race goes through shipping lanes and it's possible for a large ship to hit a sailboat and not even know it, especially at night, Roberts said.