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Last updateMer, 28 Jan 2015 10am

South Africa: Sailor dies in yacht race

Cape Town, South Africa - One sailor has died and there are fears for the safety of many other competitors at the 2014 Cape to Rio yacht race which has been affected by massive seas and gale force winds.

The famous race began in Cape Town, South Africa, Saturday with the yachts sailing into a major cold front overnight.

Competitors said the wind speeds reached 100 kilometres per hour with waves that were three stories high.

The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), which is based in Cape Town, has confirmed that an Angolan citizen, who was a crew member of the Angolan team on the yacht Bille, fell overboard on Saturday afternoon after the yacht's mast broke in heavy seas.

It appears that he was washed overboard and suffered fatal injuries.

NSRI spokesman Craig Lambinon said several of the yachts were now “limping” back to Cape Town after being damaged by the adverse weather.

These include “Indaba” which has one crew member injured but is in a stable condition.

The yacht “Bille” had all its crew evacuated to the South African Navy frigate SAS Isandlwana and is now adrift at sea.

The yacht “Isla”, which had a fire aboard on Sunday, is now being towed by a salvage vessel.

At least five other yachts are also heading back to Cape Town.

A South African Air Force aircraft from Ysterplaat air base near Cape Town is on alert in case of further problems.

Pana 08/01/2014