Manslaughter Charges Brought for Loss of Crew
Published on October 11th, 2016
The director of the firm that managed the Beneteau First 40.7 Cheeki Rafiki yacht has been charged with manslaughter after the yacht capsized in the North Atlantic. The yacht had been missing and later found with no sign of its four member crew – Andrew Bridge, Steve Warren, Paul Goslin and James Male – on May 23, 2014.
Douglas Innes is charged with four counts of gross negligence manslaughter and will appear at Southampton Magistrates’ Court on November 3. Innes and his company Stormforce Coaching are also charged with breaking merchant shipping laws.
Skipper Bridge, 22, from Farnham in Surrey, Male, 22, from Romsey, Warren, 52, from Bridgwater in Somerset and Goslin, 56, from West Camel in Somerset, were on board the Cheeki Rafiki when it began taking on water and contact was then lost.
The unoccupied 40-foot yacht was found days later with its life raft still on board. The men had been returning from Antigua Sailing Week to Southampton when they capsized approximately 720 miles (1,160km) east-south-east of Nova Scotia in Canada.
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said it had carried out an investigation lasting more than two years into the circumstances surrounding the loss of the Cheeki Rafiki. The findings concluded that the yacht capsized and inverted following a detachment of its keel.
Stormforce Coaching said in a statement: “Our legal advisers are currently reviewing the evidence which the prosecution has served upon us in this respect. Our thoughts continue to be with the crew members’ families during this time.”