Search off Mandurah ends as second body found after racing yacht capsizes

TWO sailors have died after a yacht capsized while competing in the Bunbury and Return Ocean Race off Mandurah last night.

The two sailors were aged in their 60s and 70s.

The body of a missing crew member was found by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services Dauphin helicopter at 12.30pm this afternoon and was recovered by Fremantle Water Police.

A search for the missing crew member from racing yacht Finister started after the vessel capsized 11 nautical miles southwest of Mandurah overnight.

Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) detected a distress beacon at 11.45pm last night which was registered to the 15m yacht Finistere with six people on board.

Attempts to contact the yacht by radio were unsuccessful and the yacht’s tracker failed to update at midnight.

AMSA advised the Fremantle Water Police of the incident and tasked the DFES RAC Rescue helicopter.

The helicopter arrived on scene at 12.30am and sighted an overturned yacht in the water.

Two other yachts participating in the race, Huckleberry and Fourth Dimension, arrived on scene around the same time.

The assisting yachts recovered five of the six crew members from the water. One person was deceased.

AMSA co-ordinated a search for the sixth crew member using a number of aviation and marine assets, including the DFES RAC Rescue helicopters 652 and 651 as well as the DFES Dauphin helicopter with air observers from Melville and Bassendean State Emergency Service on board.

A WA Police helicopter and an additional helicopter also provided assistance during the search, as did the Fremantle Water Police, Mandurah, Rockingham and Bunbury Volunteer Marine Rescue crews and two yachts from the race, Fourth Dimension and Circa.

Following the recovery of the sixth crew member’s body from the water at 12.30pm, the search operation has ended.

The four other crew from the Finistere are safe and well.

AMSA personnel expressed condolences to the family and friends of the Finistere’s crew. Those involved in the extensive search were thanked.

The incident has been referred to police who will prepare a report for the coroner.

The Freshwater Yacht Club hosted the race. As a mark of respect, racing scheduled for today at Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club has been cancelled.

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