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Sailing tragedy in Croatia- motor yacht kills visiting Italian sailors

by Sail-World Cruising round-up on 20 Aug 2011
Stern of the Santa Pazienza after the tragedy .. .
Two Italian sailors on a sailing holiday in Croatia were this week thrown into the water and killed when their 13 metre sailing boat was hit by a 12 metre motor yacht near the islet of Maslinovik, two nautical miles off Primosten on the central Dalmation coast of Croatia. The two sailors, a man and a woman, both 60-year-olds from Padua, have not yet been named.

Their yacht was dismasted and considerable damage suffered to the cockpit area of the boat. The incident occurred in waters popular with charter boats and long range cruising yachts.

Police found the bodies of the two sailors in the water four hours after the incident, and since then a Commission of Inquiry has already been set up by the Ministry of Sea, Transport and Infrastructure of Croatia.

63-year-old Croatian businessman Tomislav Horvatincic, driver of the motor yacht, has been detained by police in custody in Sibenik to answer questions about the incident. Horvatincic has issued a statement expressing regret and deep shock about the tragedy, claiming that the steering system in his motor yacht had failed so that he could not control the vessel in the normal manner and could not avoid the sailing boat.

Just before the collision he said he tried to warn the sailing boat crew that he had no control. Neither he nor his 35-year-old companion on the yacht were injured.

A member of the commission, Boris Seljanovski who is the head of the local port authorities, said on Wednesday that the findings of a preliminary inquiry showed that Horvatincic was steering his yacht at 20 knots in a belt within 300 metres of the coast where the speed limit is five knots.

Croatian Sea and Transport Minister Bozidar Kalmeta on Wednesday extended condolences to Italian Ambassador to Zagreb, Alessandro Pignatti Morano Di Custoza and to the families of the deceased people.

Both boats now in the hands of the Croatian authorities.

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