Aegean Crew Sober at Time of Death During Yacht Race, Officials Say

This photograph of part of a plaque Theo Mavromatis made after the Aegean's 2011 win in the Newport Beach to Ensenada Yacht Race depicts, from left to right, Mike Patton, Joe Stewart, Bill Johnson, Theo Mavromatis and Kevin Rudolph.

No alcohol was found in the bodies of the four Aegean sailors who perished when their yacht mysteriously crashed during the Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race in April near Mexico’s Coronado Islands, according to final autopsies released this week by the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office.

William Johnson Jr., 57, of Torrance; Kevin Rudolph, 53, of Manhattan Beach; Joseph Stewart, 64, of Bradenton, FL; and Theo Mavromatis, 49, of Redondo Beach, died April 28 while taking part in the annual yacht race.

All four deaths were ruled accidental.

Final autopsy reports showed Rudolph’s accidental death was a result of blunt force head and neck injuries and Stewart’s death was ruled accidental and due to drowning with blunt force head injuries a contributing factor. Alcohol was not detected in his body, according to the medical examiner’s report.

Mavromatis—whose body was found 11 days after the crash—died from multiple blunt force injuries.

“While it is possible that the decedent’s body may have incurred injuries from a boat strike as it was floating following his death, the injuries are consistent with both the sailboat accident and the injuries of the other sailboat occupants,” Craig Nelson, deputy medical examiner, wrote in his report.

Johnson, whose autopsy report was released earlier this month, died of multiple blunt force injuries. Neither alcohol nor drugs were detected in his system, according to the medical examiner’s report.

The death of the Aegean sailors were the first in the history of the annual Newport Beach to Ensenada race.

The U.S. Coast Guard has not yet released its final report on the crash; however, an independent panel convened by U.S. Sailing concluded the yacht crashed into the north face of North Coronado Island in Mexico based on data transmitted from Mavromatis’ handheld SPOT GPS tracker. The online log showed the sailboat traveling in a straight line directly toward the island.

A small group of sailing enthusiasts conducting its own investigation discovered debris in the rocks near the tip of the island. They shared the results of their investigation with the Coast Guard.

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