Has the cause of the America’s Cup accident been revealed?

Published on May 12th, 2013

He heard a crack, and the next thing (helmsman) Nathan Outteridge knew, the catamaran he was piloting was airborne.

As it rose and fell back into the San Francisco Bay, the 72-foot catamaran cracked into pieces, folding in on itself ‘‘like a taco shell’’.

Then the Olympic hero was in the water, along with 10 other crew members including his gold medal winning teammate Iain Jensen, their America’s Cup boat – Artemis Racing’s AC72 – in ruins and floundering.

A quick head count revealed one member of the crew was missing – Andrew Simpson – triggering a desperate search.

The British two-time Olympic gold medallist was trapped underwater, wedged underneath ‘‘a few tonnes’’ of carbon fibre, frantically trying to free himself.

His crew members could see him, fighting for his life and dived beneath the water to try to set him free.

They handed the man they called ‘‘Bart’’ emergency oxygen bottles – which hold about 10 breaths each – in a bid to keep him alive in the hope rescue crews would arrive in time.

They didn’t. The 36-year-old Briton, who was a strategist for Artemis Racing, was pronounced dead at the St Francis Yacht Club, after spending between 10 and 15 minutes underwater. – The Herald, read on

Editor’s note: So now we know. A structural failure initiated the falling dominoes, and Bart was conscious underwater but unable to free himself. It may take time to determine the ‘why’, but it seems that we now know the ‘what’. Here are photos by Erik Simonson of the salvage.

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