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Posts Tagged ‘death’

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When I was little, we found a man. He looked like – like, butchered. The old woman in the village crossed themselves… and whispered crazy things, strange things. “El Diablo cazador de hombres.” Only in the hottest years this happens. And this year, it grows hot. We begin finding our men. We found them sometimes without their skins… and sometimes much, much worse. “El cazador trofeo de los hombres” means the demon who makes trophies of men. 

This line from one of Hollywood’s true classics is as silly now as it was when we first heard it in 1987, but somehow, it seems to describe the decaying situation in all of Brazil, but especially Rio.  With thousands of athletes on the ground training in the hot, stinky city, reports are beginning to come in showing crime, corruption, construction, and political chaos pushing towards a furious crescendo.

Nationally, President Dilma Roussef came out of hiding the other day giving her first big international interview to Glenn Greenwald, and she shows no sign of ending the political civil war that’s led to millions of protestors in the street every few weeks, and a completely uncertain political future for the nation.

Closer to the Olympics, training for got a lot more hazardous recently.  One Spanish gold medal team was allegedly held up at gunpoint last week and robbed clean of gear, money, and papers last week by a band of banditos close to Olympic Sailing HQ at Marina De Gloria.  Their coach spent most of a day driving around with local police trying to find the thieves.

Also last week, a gunfight broke out in the Favela just above the grounds of the Rio Yacht Club in Niteroi; the training base for several national teams and Torben Grael’s home club. The members and athletes seemed to think it was fireworks at first – until they saw the boat workers running for cover.  According to the article in Veja, authorities would have covered it up (as usual) were it not for the athletes witnessing the gunfight – including a bullet grazing the wall of the club.  Until this event, the Danish and other teams’ request for more police security near the team bases were ignored.  Now, many of these teams just don’t walk anywhere – a taxi takes them even when they need to go a half a mile.

Yet while the crime and political/economic uncertainty are ever-present, they’re still something of a lottery; if you use your head and follow some basic rules, visitors to Brazil can minimize most risks  (and if inflation continues to skyrocket, you might actually get some incredible deals down there).  But there’s one risk that no sailor can really get away from – the water.  And as the rain starts to fall, it’s getting as bad as it ever has been.

On Tuesday, a new hue graced the bay – iridescent green, the color of anti-freeze, with a smell of ‘burning chemicals and decomposition.” (see pic below). One crew saw a huge sea turtle upside-down on the foamy green surface of the bay.  She was unsure whether it was the plastic entangling its face or the poisoned waters that killed it.

And then there is the pic that headlined this piece, shot on Friday smack in the middle of the Medal Race Course.  Well, we don’t know where the dog was shot – or even if it was a gun that did him in – but the photo was definitely shot there.  If we didn’t laugh, we’d cry, and aside from the poor bastards who have to compete there, our condolences go out to the proud Brazilians, their humiliation and shame on display to the entire planet – for three more months.

rioBrazil’s current crises – and yes, that’s plural – are likely to continue to worsen just as the world’s eyes are all turned Southward, with the once-burgeoning economy getting pulled back into the morass that’s defined so much of Central and South American politics and government for the better part of the past century.  Even if economic chaos is fairly common to much of Latin America, the confluence of factors hitting Brazil right now is something far worse.  The worst James Bond villain could never pull it all off; pollution, corruption, impeachment, Zika, a crime wave, and oil prices all crushing the country at the same time?  No way.

Were this the Winter Olympics, we’d end up shrugging our shoulders and saying, “oh, well, another fucked country,” and maybe sparing a few thoughts for its inhabitants, but this time, it’s different:  These are OUR friends and our families and OUR crews and our skippers in harm’s way, and the more they know you’re behind them, the more likely they are to stay safe.  We don’t know how it is that the IOC and ISAF are immune to worldwide pressure to actually behave responsibly, but if you care about your athletes, please continue to push via social media on those organizations, the media, and the Olympic sponsors.

 

May 22nd, 2016 by admin

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Thick fog apparently led to the death of two sailors not far from Cape Town on Monday, when skipper George Mills ran his 47′ yacht Tara onto rocks near Table Bay.  Mills and Rachel Daly from Ireland died as the yacht was broken up, her injured husband reached shore and eventual rescue.  Another reminder of how unforgiving some coasts can be, and how slim the margin for error is at the intersection of rock and open sea. Our condolences to Mills and Dalys’ families.  Thread.

February 3rd, 2016 by admin

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Screen Shot 2016-01-10 at 8.05.07 AMOur most sincere condolences to Valerie, Sandy, Ian and Ros and the extended family of Bob Oatley, who died on Sunday morning.  Of course we all know Bob is the man behind the Wild Oats line of racing yachts as well as wines, islands, and much more, but we loved him for his no-bullshit attitude and a commitment to the sport that’s legendary.

Get into the thread and share your own Oatley story here.

 

January 10th, 2016 by admin

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Screen Shot 2015-09-05 at 6.22.50 PMSir Robin Knox-Johnston’s Clipper Around the World Race has lost its first sailor; we just picked up the breaking news off the BBC that a crewmember aboard the IchorCoal entry died early this morning off the Portuguese coast.  Reports identify the UK’s Andrew Ashman as the crew on the Clipper 70 who was knocked unconscious ‘while trimming a sail’ on the highly loaded, heavily-laden boat, and whether it was a clew or a boom that struck him, he didn’t regain consciousness and the ‘race’ boat is diverting to Portugal to offload the body.

A past skipper of the race told us his only surprise is that it hasn’t happened sooner.  “Anyone who’s done the race will be reminding themselves of the number of unprepared skippers and crew they raced with and against,’ he said.

Our condolences to Ashman’s family and friends, and if you have loved ones on a Clipper boat, send an email to let them know you love ‘em. We’ll have more news as it develops.

UPDATE: OFFICIAL STATEMENT HERE.

 

September 5th, 2015 by admin

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Screen Shot 2015-09-03 at 11.09.09 AMNot content with its ‘provocative policing practices‘ igniting the biggest period of civil unrest in America in half a century, the animals running the Missouri Department of Highway Patrol have finally been called to task by a Senator for the attempted cover-up of the killing of a college student on Lake of the Ozarks last year by a ‘marine trooper’, whatever the fuck that is.

You may remember this story from last June, when the actions of State Trooper Anthony Piercy caused the death of 20 year old Iowan Brandon Ellingson, who flipped out of the trooper’s patrol boat while handcuffed.  The cops’ incompetent handling of the MOB killed Ellingson, yet a questionable coroner’s inquest found no culpability on the part of Piercy, and the Trooper’s video recording system was conveniently “missing its memory card.”  In the meantime, Sargeant Randy Henry was demoted and disciplined by his supervisors for speaking out about the miscarriage of justice, and both Henry and the family of Ellingson are now in litigation with Missouri Highway Patrol over their mismanagement (and alleged corruption, report falsification, and deception).  Will the Senator’s power bring a change to yet another American police department with a record of killing the innocent? We’re not confident, but we encourage you to head over the Justice for Brandon Facebook Page to add your support, while telling America’s police agencies that they need to train their fucking water cops better or expect consequences.  Boaters’ lives matter, too.

Here’s the August report from WHOTV:

New allegations have surfaced that the investigation into the death of Brandon Ellingson may have been botched, and that there was a cover-up based on a favor owed among Missouri law enforcement.

Ellingson, who was a Clive resident, was arrested last year for drunken boating at the Lake of the Ozarks. He was handcuffed, and then fell out of a police boat. He drowned before the arresting officer could save him. The same officer admitted he put on Ellingson’s life jacket the wrong way.

Amanda Grellner was the special prosecutor. She investigated the case, but she never pressed any charges against that arresting officer.

Meanwhile, another trooper criticized the Missouri Highway Patrol over how the arrest was handled. Sgt. Randy Henry spoke out and was demoted. Henry hired an attorney and appealed that decision.

Now, Henry’s attorney says he has found another investigation that involved Grellner, which may have influenced the Ellingson investigation.

The attorney says there was a botched rape investigation involving Grellner’s son and claims there was a cover-up.

The attorney believes Ellingson’s death was never fully investigated. He says that was Grellner’s way of paying back the Missouri State Patrol. Grellner stepped down from the Ellingson case and a second prosecutor took over.

Props to NWA and Rage Against The Machine for the title inspiration.

 

September 3rd, 2015 by admin

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UPDATE: Associated Press reporter Stephen Wade did a little more digging after reading the SA piece below. His update is here.

You won’t see it in any official ISAF or IOC report, but the first major casualty (that we know about, anyway) of the Guanabara Bay pollution epidemic is now in a local hospital.  One of the top light-air RS:X specialists, Korean boardsailor Wonwoo Choo, was rushed to an ambulance yesterday afternoon with high fever, vomiting, chills, and dehydration.  More from “Danny OK”, and please share his post on the IOC and ISAF Facebook pages as many times as you can.  Only the most unrelenting pressure can force change against the tide of corruption, laziness, incompetence, and downright apathy, and only when Rio understands that this scandal may kill off what is left of their dwindling tourism industry will the local government do something about it.  Here’s Danny’s post:

More than 10 years of life-time effort can be destroyed in one day!  This is not an emergency situation, but it’s very disappointing.  He has been sick since last night with a high fever, vomiting and coldness, and he is now fully dehydrated.

It seems he got infected from virus somewhere in the racing site which is supposed to be safe and clean as an Olympic venue.  I hope this wouldn’t happen again not only for us, but for all sailors who compete on the same play ground.

Additionally, I hope IOC and ISAF must consider how the safety issue will be improved for the next year.

We may not able to clear all the issues, but we could minimize the risks.

 

August 19th, 2015 by admin

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Every few years, Lake Erie turns into a ferocious motherfucker during the Mills Trophy Race, the first of the big Great Lakes distance affairs, and this year was one of those.  A light air start was quickly forgotten when the front blew through with 20-40 knots from the ENE, and it didn’t take long for the infamously steep Erie waves to follow, line after line of angry soldier.  A sailor from a Melges 32 reported that the waves were ‘difficult, but avoidable’ until the sun set after the mid-afternoon start.  “It was a lot harder to avoid the big ones after dark,” he said.

Those waves caught out quite a few teams; check out the couple dozen DNFs up and down the fleet.  But one DNF turned fatal, when a sailor on Ken Sabin’s 35-year old wooden Mull one-tonner Horse went overboard in the dark night, and drowned.  And strangely, he wasn’t recovered by his team – he was found on shore near Ohio’s East Harbor State Park and recovered shortly after sunrise – some 6 hours after he got wet.  Authorities ID’d the sailor as Glen William Reeck, of Matlacha, Florida and drowning as the cause of death. Given the size of the waves reported and the 49 degree (F) temperature, not much of a surprise at all.

What is surprising is the complete lack of information regarding Mr. Reeck’s untimely departure from the good ship Horse.  Race Chairman Ron Soka ain’t talking, but there is plenty of chatter about the state of the old one-tonner on the dock before the race.  What really happened out there?  When we know, you’ll know.

 

June 7th, 2015 by admin

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Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 9.54.39 AMWe offer our condolences to everyone affected by the tragedy in Alabama.  Huge Kudos to logtime SA’er “Puffyjman” for keeping his head on during the bad, bad times on Mobile Bay.  Here’s his report, and there’s plenty more first-hand words in the thread.

We had just finished on a Tripp 26 and threw the kite up for the ride back to FYC when it hit us. According to the Ft Morgan weather station there was an initial gust of 62 followed by 20 min of 50 then over an hour where it was over 30. We were fortunate to have a boat full experienced sailors that didn’t panic and did what it took to secure the boat and ride the storm out.
When it had settled down we threw a blade up and proceeded to head to FYC when we spotted three sailors floating, we rescued them and had learned they were sailing a Cal 24 that turtled and sank. They were in the water for more then an hour and were in shock as they lost 2 crew to drowning. We got them safely back to FYC.

The sailors we rescued yesterday were all wearing PFDs, they stated that the two victims were also wearing PFDs. The chop on the bay was so incredibly steep that it may have contributed to them drowning as the water was constantly breaking over their heads. Ironically one overboard sailor survived a three hour ordeal without a PFD. I’m not advocating against wearing life jackets I’m just telling you what I know that happened yesterday.

My thoughts and prayers to the families of victims of this tragedy.

 

April 27th, 2015 by admin

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Screen Shot 2014-12-09 at 9.06.50 PMRemember when our Senior Editor was the closest witness to a multiple-death boat crash this summer on the river in Michigan?  Well, apparently there is some justice in the world, and it also means Mr. Clean won’t have to answer that witness subpoena after all.

Brandon Verfaillie’s blood alcohol was over 0.1 more than an hour after the crash according to police, and he he allegedly pled guilty to two counts of operating a vessel while intoxicated causing death and one count of operating a vessel while intoxicated causing serious injury; the maximum combined time he can be sentenced is 35 years, and the judge will hand it down in January.

Verfaillie is also facing wrongful death and other lawsuits.  His life is mostly over, but not over as the two people he killed.  Thankfully, while it’s got its shortcomings, the system sometimes works.

 

December 9th, 2014 by admin

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crimesceneQuestion Of The Week

I am in boat looking mode. Without getting specific, would you buy a boat if her owner was murdered on board?” -SA’er ‘kidkodine.’

Best answer so far: “Is the killer still aboard?”

Supply your own response – a real one or yet another horribly morbid joke – here.

 

October 8th, 2014 by admin

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