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Coast Guard opens formal inquiry into collapse of mast on Maine schooner that killed a passenger

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FILE – This photograph offered by Kurt Schleicher exhibits the schooner Grace Bailey with its major mast damaged off the coast of Rockland, Maine, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023. Kurt Schleicher through AP, File

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The Coast Guard mentioned Monday it has launched a proper investigation right into a deadly accident aboard a historic schooner off the coast of Maine during which a mast fell and killed one particular person and injured three others.

The principle mast of the schooner Grace Bailey splintered and fell onto the deck on Oct. 9. The collapse killed Dr. Emily Mecklenburg, 40, a doctor from Rockland.

Coast Guard officers mentioned the formal inquiry is meant to find out what led to the collapse and establish something that may assist enhance maritime security.

“As a member of a lifesaving service, I’m deeply saddened by this tragedy,” mentioned Capt. Amy Florentino, commander of Coast Guard Sector Northern New England. “The Coast Guard is dedicated to conducting an intensive investigation geared toward figuring out causal elements that can stop an accident like this from reoccurring.”

The homeowners of the vessel, the Grace Bailey Navigation Firm of Rockland, haven’t any touch upon the investigation, mentioned Nicole Jacques, a spokesperson for the corporate. The vessel carries vacationers off the Maine coast and was coming back from a four-day journey when the mast snapped late within the morning of Oct. 9.

The vessel was in-built 1882. It was a few mile (1.6 kilometers) east of Rockland Harbor on the time. The schooner’s full size is 118 ft (36 meters) and it was in compliance with necessities when it underwent an annual inspection in Might, Coast Guard officers have mentioned.

The schooner was concerned in three earlier accidents lately when it was underneath earlier possession, Coast Guard data have proven. The Coast Guard mentioned Monday that it despatched a 47-foot (14-meter) motor lifeboat crew to help after the mast collapse and transferred Mecklenburg to emergency medical staff, after which she was pronounced useless.

There have been 33 folks on board the Grace Bailey when the mast collapsed. The opposite three injured folks, who suffered head and again accidents, had been transported to hospitals afterward.