Trapeze Entanglement: How common is this?

Published on November 18th, 2013

The 18 footer circuit in Australia lost one of its sailors when 23-year-old David “Casper” Hansa, of Cooroy, was on an 18-foot skiff in Waterloo Bay off Wynnum in Brisbane on November 9 when the boat tipped over and he was trapped under water.

Hansa’s trapeze harness hook became entangled following a capsize; attempts to revive the 23-year-old were unsuccessful.

His father, Nick Hansa, said he still believed sailing was one of the safest sports and his son’s death was a tragic accident. “I still believe he was in more danger driving to Brisbane than he was sailing,” Mr Hansa said.

Mr Hansa said investigations were still continuing into his son’s death, but he did not believe more needed to be done to improve the safety of the sport.

“Sailing is a great sport, it is one of the safest sports there is,” he said. “I have never heard of a death in amateur off-the-beach racing craft before.”

Comment: While I don’t dispute Mr. Hansa’s claim about the safety of sailing, I do dispute his claim that this accident was unique. While trapeze entanglement is not common, there were the well publicized entanglement deaths on an 18ft skiff in Hawaii in 2008 and a Club 420 in Annapolis in 2011. Additional commentary is posted here. – Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt

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