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Two die as yacht crashes on rocks off South Africa

Published 02/02/2016

Two people have died in a yachting accident near Cape Town
Two people have died in a yachting accident near Cape Town

An Irish woman and a Scottish man have died after a yacht ran into trouble and crashed on the western coast of South Africa.

The man, understood to be George Mills, 61, was discovered at the scene of the accident, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) said.

A 66-year-old man from the Republic survived and managed to raise the alarm, and the South African Maritime Safety Authority is now investigating the incident.

Mr Mills is understood to have been a long-term member of the Royal Cape Yacht Club and owned the 47ft (14m) yacht Tara.

Marina manager Joshio Fisher said: "The owner has been a member for a long time. We have had the burgee, the club's flag, at half-mast.

"The club has got a very tight sailing community. Club members do make use of the restaurant and the bar facilities.

"This owner used to be quite well-known within the club.

"It's been quite a dramatic incident for the club."

He said the yacht had left the club's marina for Port Owen, further up the west coast, and then returned, making one stop, before hitting the rocks.

The NSRI received reports that a yacht had capsized between Bokpunt and Gansekraal on the Western Cape just after 4.30am on Monday.

Sea rescue crafts responded along with a police dive unit but the yacht was discovered broken up among rocks on the shore.

The NSRI said it was not known what had caused the yacht to hit the rocks and whether it had capsized before running aground.

A spokesman said there were three crew members on board, reportedly sailing from Langebaan to Cape Town.

Ireland's Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed it is liaising with relatives of the Irish woman.

She had been living in the Western Cape for years.

"The department is aware of the death of an Irish citizen in the Western Cape and consular assistance is being provided," a spokesman said.

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