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Scotsman and Irish woman die in yacht accident off South Africa

Published 02/02/2016

The scene where a tacht ran into trouble and was found crashed into rocks on the western coast of South Africa (National Sea Rescue Institute South Africa/PA)
The scene where a tacht ran into trouble and was found crashed into rocks on the western coast of South Africa (National Sea Rescue Institute South Africa/PA)

A Scottish man and an Irish woman have died after a yacht ran into trouble off 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 of Ireland 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.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "We are liaising with local authorities and providing support to the family of a British national who has sadly died in Cape Town, South Africa."

Ireland's Department of Foreign Affairs also 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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