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Search Ends For Missing Sailors After Chicagoan’s Yacht Crashes Off California

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The Sydney yacht "Low Speed Chase" (Lyons Imaging)

The Sydney yacht “Low Speed Chase” (Lyons Imaging)

Brad Edwards Brad Edwards
Brad Edwards is a general assignment reporter for CBS 2 Chicago. He...
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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS) – A yacht owned by a Chicago man was making international waves, after the boat crashed during a weekend regatta off the coast of San Francisco.

CBS 2’s Brad Edwards reports three of the eight crew members have been rescued. The body of one crew member was pulled from the water hours after the wreck, and the search for four others has been suspended indefinitely, and they are presumed dead.

The eight-member crew was racing around the Farallon Islands on Saturday, a century-old race that has never been for the faint of heart. The crew members were all described as experienced and professional sailors.

The owner of the 38-foot yacht, the Low Speed Chase, is 41-year-old James Bradford of Chicago.

The yacht was hit by a wave just off an outcropping of rocky islands, knocking several people overboard.

“The swells were about 10 to 12 feet, which is pretty heavy swells, and swept four people off board,” said U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Levi Reed. “The rest of the crew turned the vessel around to rescue those four people, and then they got hit by another wave, which knocked them into the rocks.”

The San Francisco Yacht Club, which organized the race, has identified the missing boaters as: Alan Cahill, of Tiburon, Calif.; Jordan Fromm, 25, of Kentfield, Calif.; Elmer Morrissey, of Ireland; and Alexis Bush, of Larkspur, Calif.

The crew member whose boat was pulled from the water was identified as Marc Kasanin, 46, of Belvedere, Calif.

In addition to Bradford, the surviving crew members have been identified as Bryan Chong, of Tiburon, Calif.; and Nick Vos, of Sonoma, Calif..

Chicago Yacht Club member Shawn O’Neill knew the Low Speed Chase well, because he’s sailed on a nearly identical 38-foot Sydney yacht.

“I’m infinitely familiar with the boat, simply because for the last 11 seasons, I’ve been racing on this exact sister ship,” O’Neill said. “In fact this exact boat used to be here in Chicago.”

O’Neill, a three-time overall winner of the Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac, said, “Whether it’s the lake, or the ocean, you know, it’s Mother Nature; and you really never know what it’s gonna throw at you. And it’s capable of showing you who’s boss in a hurry.”

With every disaster, there’s a lesson.

“You want to know what caused the incident to occur, and what can you do different so that it doesn’t repeat,” O’Neill said.

The search for the four missing crew members was haled after 30 hours. The U.S. Coast Guard said “the window of survivability has passed.”

The survivors are all expected to fully recover.

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