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Another boom death. Australian sailor dies, hit by swinging boom

by Sail-World Cruising round-up on 7 Jul 2014
Tragedy boat Utiekah III under full sail .. .
Another boom death. An Australian sailor who was seriously injured after being hit by a boom on a yacht during a storm off Pulau Bidan, 19 nautical miles from Penang in Malaysia, has died. Wrong information provided to the maritime authorities on the location of the yacht led to a delay in the rescue operation of the woman, according to local authorities.

The incident occurred at 12.30pm last Monday and the sailor has been identified as Shelly Elizabeth Mahoney, 63, from North Queensland, Australia, who was, at the time, sailing with her husband, John Mahoney.

State CID chief Asst Comm Mohd Nashir Ya when contacted said the couple, sailing on their 1925 huon pine yacht, Utiekah III, had encountered strong waves while they were sailing near Pulau Bidan on Monday.

'They were trying to lower their sail when a boom hit the deceased, causing her to fall off the deck, seriously injuring her head,' he stated.

Once they were found, she was rushed to the Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital for emergency treatment and was admitted to the intensive care unit. She never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead Saturday. Her daughters Lisette Reid, 33, and Shannon Grasso, 38, and husband were by her side when she died.

Northern Region Maritime Enforcement Agency operation director Kapt Salim Ahmad said after being informed of an incident on board the Utiekah III on June 30, the rescue team had searched for the yacht off Pulau Song Song when it was actually off Pulau Bidan.

'The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) Batu Uban base received a distress call at 3pm. A rescue vessel with five men was rushed to the location from the Kuala Kedah MMEA base at 3.45pm.

'The weather was bad when the MMEA vessel reached Pulau Song Song and when they failed to locate the yacht, they extended their search and found Utiekah III at about 5.20pm off Pulau Bidan,' he said yesterday.

Kapt Salim said MMEA followed all standard operation procedures in the rescue operation.

Kapt Salim said he believed husband John had called his friends in Penang immediately after the accident occurred at about 12.30pm.

'What transpired from the time the incident occurred until the time MMEA received the information is in question. We are looking into this,' he said.

In the meantime, the local cruising community is grieving. Said one, 'They were a muched loved part of the cruising community, Johhny played guitar and they sang and performed for a living, but also for fun. Really nice, generous people, and Shelley was just loved by everyone.'

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