3 Dead, 1 Missing in Yacht Race Crash Off California, Mexico Coast

(AP Photo)

Three people were killed and one person is missing after a yacht apparently crashed into a larger boat during a race off the coast of California and Mexico this past week, authorities said.

The accident occurred Friday night or early Saturday morning. The 37-foot sailboat, named the Aegean, had been taking part in a 125-mile race from Newport, California to Ensenada, Mexico, when it was reported missing early Saturday morning.

Around 1:30 a.m. Saturday, the boat's image vanished from the online race tracking system, prompting a Coast Guard search which led to the discovery of the boat's wreckage near the Coronado Islands in Mexico, according to the Newport Ocean Sailing Association.

Three members of the crew were found dead aboard the sailboat.

None of the bodies have been identified, the Newport Ocean Sailing Association reported on its website.

US Coast Guard Petty Officer Henry Dunphy in San Diego said it's still not clear what happened.

"There will be an investigation to determine exactly what happened. We're just not sure at this point. We're going to be looking into it," Dunphy said.

The Coast Guard is searching for the missing crew member by boat and helicopter.

"Basically we're searching around Coronado Islands. Last night it was a 10 by 10 area, this morning it'll be expanding based on basically drift patterns would be in that area," said Dunphy.

"We had a coast guard cutter on scene all night, this morning we're going to be launching some more aerial searches with a helicopter and then we'll go from there," Dunphy added.

These would be the first fatalities in the 65-year history of the race, according to NOSA's website, but it is California's second ocean racing accident this month.