Olympic gold medalist killed when Swedish boat capsizes on San Francisco Bay

Posted May 09, 2013, at 9:01 p.m.

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — A two-time sailing gold medalist from Britain has been identified as the crewman who died Thursday afternoon when Sweden’s Artemis Racing catamaran capsized during an America’s Cup practice run on San Francisco Bay.

Andrew “Bart” Simpson was trapped underneath the boat and died despite attempts to revive him by doctors afloat and on the dock of the St. Francis Yacht club.

“The entire Artemis Racing team is devastated by what happened,” said CEO Paul Cayard in a statement. “Our heartfelt condolences are with Andrew’s wife and family.”

Simpson was one of the 11-man crew out for a practice run in the team’s 72-foot catamaran.

One other person was injured but is in stable condition, according to San Francisco Fire Department spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge. The other nine crewmen were not hurt, the team said.

Video from television station ABC7 showed rescuers giving one person CPR after they were pulled from the water. Talmadge said one of the sailors was submerged for “quite some time.”

The Oracle team, which suffered a calamitous capsize last fall, was also practicing on the bay when the “Artemis Racing” team capsized sometime shortly after 1 p.m.

Four teams are competing in the America’s Cup regatta, which starts July 4. The New Zealand and Italian teams have only recently arrived in San Francisco to start training, although their 72-foot boats have yet to hit the water.

Chase boats from those teams, along with boats from Artemis and Oracle, all sped into the bay to help, according to Tom Ehman, director of external affairs for the America’s Cup Event Authority.

Oracle’s capsize of its first 72-foot catamaran in October, on its eighth day training on the boat, became international news. The boat that could reach speeds higher than 40 mph capsized in strong winds. A strong ebb tide and choppy waters dragged the boat through the Golden Gate, broke the mast and damaged the hulls. No one was injured. Oracle repaired that boat and is using it as a spare. Oracle only recently launched its second 72-footer and has been practicing on that.

Ever since Oracle’s capsize, Ehman said, safety measures and rescue protocols were reviewed for all teams.

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