Tanker and yacht collision drama watched by 100,000

Cowes Week collision between yacht Atlanta and tanker - photos by Herbert Westervelt
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An estimated one hundred thousand yachting enthusiasts were watching the sails on the Solent when this dramatic sequence was captured by the camera of Herbert Westervelt. It was sent to the Island Pulse during the Cowes Week Regatta, reputed to be the largest gathering of its kind of yachts in the world.

Participation in the famous regatta did not stop the Irish-registerred 33ft yacht Atlanta of Chester, owned by Roly Wilson, from crashing into the tanker while flying a spinnaker, losing both its mast and its rigging. Onlookers said that Atlanta appeared to try to claim right of way over the tanker or slip past the tanker's bow.

Two of the crew had to be rescued from the sea after their collision with the LPG tanker Hanne Knutsen, off Egypt Point on the Isle of Wight.

At 3.20pm, Solent Coastguard was alerted that the yacht had been involved in the accident.

A Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) spokesman said: 'Two people were thrown overboard by the collision. The Marine Accident Investigation Branch and the MCA duty surveyor have been informed. The tanker continued to its destination at Fawley and the yacht has been towed to the UKSA berths at Cowes.'

The Rhib (rigid-hulled inflatable boat) Vigilant took one of the crew back to shore for medical attention whilst the Southampton Patrol Boat and Hamble Rescue took the second crew member who had suffered a gash to his head to a waiting ambulance at Trinity Pontoon for transport to Newport Hospital. He was later reported to have been discharged.

Here is the footage of the incident, caught accidentally on video: