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Injured crew in hospital damaged Clipper vessel expected soon

by Shelbi Okamura on 3 Apr 2012
Geraldton Western Australia’s injured crew members Nik Brbora and Jane Hitchins arrive in Oakland, San Francisco Bay after being medevac’d by US Coast Guard vessel, Berthlof. Photographer Abner Kingman/onEdition. Clipper Ventures
Two crew members participating in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race aboard Geraldton Western Australia, who were injured when the boat was hit by a large wave in heavy seas on Saturday, have just been taken off the US Coast Guard cutter Bertholf and transferred to the Highland General Hospital in Oakland, California.

Both crew members on the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race were in good spirits when they were lifted off the US Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf and into awaiting ambulances.

Jane Hitchins, 50, a doctor from Kent, UK, with suspected broken ribs and Nik Brbora, 29, a software engineer from London, UK, with a suspected pelvic strain have been taken to Highland General Hospital (not San Francisco General Hospital as previously stated).

Assistant Race Director Justin Taylor who was the first to see the crew members on board the US Coast Guard’s vessel, said, 'Both Jane and Nik appeared to be in good spirits despite the traumatic experience. Jane said, she was very happy to be aboard the US Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf and that she was very appreciative of all their efforts before she went off in the ambulance.



'We are very pleased that the joint operation between the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, the UK Coast Guard and not least the US Coast Guard has completed.'

'The next step is to get the Geraldton Western Australia yacht that is currently 50 miles from Jack London Square marina ashore. I’m in on-going contact with the yacht and they are looking forward to get here after a long and tough journey.'

The other two crew involved in the incident on board Geraldton Western Australia and are expected to arrive in Jack London Square, Oakland, San Francisco Bay at 0930UTC, April 3.

Max Wilson, 62, a farmer from Queensland, Australia, who also has suspected broken ribs, but in a more stable condition.

Mark Burkes, 47, who was on the helm at the time of the incident, sustained a back injury but is not as badly hurt as originally believed and has been taken off the casualty list.

Geraldton Western Australia has been awarded tenth place in Race 9 of the world’s longest yacht race, with the first nine having arrived over the past three days.

The entire fleet will remain at Jack London Square, in Oakland, California, where they will remain until the start of the next race on 14 April. All of the yachts and the crew will be a part of the 2012 Strictly Sail Pacific Boat Show, in Jack London Square, April 12-15.

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