Yacht accident survivor wants more focus on safety

  • A girl tosses flowers from a boat into the water, during a memorial flotilla for five sailors who were killed in a yacht race last weekend, in Belvedere, Calif., Saturday, April 21, 2012. Nearly a hundred boats from throughout the Bay area took part in the flotilla to honor the crew members of the Low Speed Chase who died April 14 during the Full Crew Farallones Race off the Northern California coast. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

SAN FRANCISCO — A survivor of the fatal grounding of a racing yacht on rocky islands west of San Francisco is calling on the sailing community to make safety a higher priority.

In a lengthy letter posted online (http://bit.ly/JqIlHH ) Tuesday, Bryan Chong, 38, offered a detailed account of what happened the day the sailboat Low Speed Chase wrecked during an April 14 race around the Farallon Islands.

"Hopefully this incident will spur a wider discussion of sailboat safety," Chong wrote in the lengthy letter published on several sailing blogs, including Sailing Anarchy, Seahorse and Latitude38. "I truly consider myself lucky to have a second chance at life with my wife and 8-week-old son."

Chong, of Belvedere, is one of three crew members who survived after a monster wave slammed into the 38-foot sailboat. One member was found dead that day and four remain missing at sea.

San Francisco police said Tuesday they found no evidence of criminal negligence in the accident, calling it a terrible tragedy. The district attorney's office reviewed the police department's findings and agreed.

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