by Rodney Bay
John Thompson, a lawyer from Bangor, Northern Ireland, sustained serious head injuries in an accident onboard his yacht late on Friday 7 December 2007.
The incident occurred mid-Atlantic whilst the yacht was at position 15˚28N 43˚59W, 980 nautical miles East of St.Lucia and 1090 nautical miles West of the Cape Verde Islands, well beyond the range of any land based assistance.
The Maritime Rescue Control Centre (MRCC) in Martinique diverted a cruise ship, the Costa Mediterranea, to attend the scene and at first light on Saturday 8 December John was transferred onto the ship. His son Daniel who had been sailing with him accompanied his father. Early on Monday morning (10 December) John was transferred ashore once the ship reached Barbados, where he received immediate hospital treatment.
Regrettably, John did not recover from his serious injuries whilst in hospital, and died late today (Thursday 13 December); his family were with him at the time.
Andrew Bishop, Managing Director of the event organisers, World Cruising Club, commented: 'We are all deeply saddened by the news of John's death in this tragic sailing accident and send our condolences and prayers to his family. Despite this being such a difficult time for them, I know that they take some comfort from the fact that John died participating in the sport he loved. Our thoughts and those of all his fellow ARC sailors are with his wife Tina, son Dan and family today.'
The yacht Avocet, with four remaining crew, all of whom are very experienced, has continued on to St.Lucia, with an expected arrival date of Friday 14 December.