A fisherman is killed and another crew seriously injured in powerboat record attempt collision


As I blogged about the Earthrace powerboat record attempt earlier this week I was quite unaware of the tragedy that had taken place the same day. One man was killed and another seriously injured when the futuristic wave-piercing 24m trimaran collided with a fishing boat off the Guatemalan coast.

The New Zealand skipper, Peter Bethune, dived into the water to try to save the fisherman but saw the man’s body sink in front of him before he could get there. The Earthrace crew managed to save the second crewmember, who was bleeding heavily and had suffered internal injuries, and took him to the nearest hospital some 10 hours away.

The collision happened at about midnight local time. Peter Bethune was asleep and two others of the Earthrace crew were on watch at the time. They say there was no sign of the fishing boat on radar and it was unlit when they collided with “an almighty crash” about 15 miles off the Guatemalan coast. Earthrace is capable of 30 knots but was travelling at 15 knots at the time of the collision. The collision, however, was catastrophic for the smaller vessel, which broke up.

The skipper of Earthrace was placed under arrest in Guatemala and will appear in court later this week.