Irish sailors missing presumed dead after San Francisco race accident

Coast Guard search for missing sailors off San Francisco

Two Irish sailors are missing at sea presumed dead off the Coast of California after a boat race in San Francisco turned to tragedy.

The US Coast Guard has indefinitely suspended the search for four sailors, including the two Irishmen.
Reports say that one sailor died when powerful waves swept him from the yacht during a 60-mile boat race off San Francisco.

Three of the eight crew on board the vessel were rescued and four, including Irishmen Alan Cahill and Elmer Morrissey, are missing.

Cahill is a San Francisco resident while Morrissey is believed to  have been visiting from Ireland.

“An air and sea search was suspended indefinitely around sundown and we will not go back tomorrow,” said US Coast Guard spokesman Caleb Critchfield on Sunday night.

“We kept searching 12 hours past what we consider the survivability window. We extend our deepest sympathy and our hearts go out to the family and friends of the victims.”

The vessel was one of 49 yachts competing on Saturday in a race around South Farallon Island, part of a rugged, sparsely populated chain offshore from San Francisco.

Officials told local media that trouble began as the vessel rounded South Farallon Island on Saturday afternoon.

 “A large wave initially swept four crew members into the ocean and when those remaining aboard tried to turn the craft around, another wave pushed the boat onto rocks, where it foundered,” said reports.

“The second wave tossed three more people into the water. Air units from the Coast Guard and California Air National Guard lifted off after receiving an emergency transmission from a satellite beacon on the Low Speed Chase, as well as a mayday radio call from a nearby yacht.”

Lieutenant Chris Hanszlick of the US Coastguard told Irish radio on Monday morning that hope is now fading of finding the men alive.