January 24, 2018: HONG KONG - Vestas 11th Hour Racing co-founders, Mark Towill and Charlie Enright, have released a statement about the collision with a non-racing vessel that occurred just outside Hong Kong in the early hours of Saturday 20 January.
"Our thoughts and condolences are with the families and all those affected by this tragic situation," said Mark Towill.
The collision occurred near the end of the fourth leg of the Volvo Ocean Race, about 30 miles from the finish line.
"Damage to Vestas 11th Hour after a collision with a fishing boat 30nm from the finish of Leg." - photo credit © Volvo Ocean Race
Immediately after securing the vessel and ensuring the safety of the crew, Vestas 11th Hour Racing issued a Mayday distress call on behalf of the other vessel, and then engaged in a search and rescue procedure in coordination with the Hong Kong Marine Rescue Coordination Centre (HKMRCC).
That search and rescue procedure eventually concluded in the team recovering one casualty from the water who was airlifted to a hospital and unfortunately did not survive. Nine crew members from the non-racing vessel were rescued.
None of the Vestas 11th Hour Racing crew were injured in the collision. The boat, although significantly damaged, motored to Hong Kong under its own power.
“Our hearts go out to everyone involved in this terrible incident. It has been difficult for the crew and the entire Vestas 11th Hour Racing team. We are grateful for the overwhelming support we’ve had during this very tough time," said Charlie Enright.
Vestas 11th Hour Racing continues to work with the authorities and Volvo Ocean Race in the ongoing investigation.
The team will provide further updates in the coming days.