Three in yacht industry die in Rhode Island accident

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Three women found dead in a submerged car at a Rhode Island shipyard were friends who worked on some of the world’s finest yachts, according to a business owner in the industry.

The car was found Friday sticking out of about four feet of water in Newport Harbor at the privately owned Newport Shipyard, according to the Providence Journal. Police believe the driver missed a turn in foggy conditions and that the car had been in the water for at least several hours before it was discovered.

Authorities identified the women as Jennifer Way of North Kingstown, R.I.; Louise Owen of Wales in the United Kingdom; and Femmetje Staring of the Netherlands. All were 39 years old.

Peter Wilson, co-founder and co-owner of Newport-based Marine Construction Management, which represents yacht owners, said the three women became close friends while working in the yachting industry. Way was a yacht manager at Marine Construction Management, Owen had been working on the luxury superyacht Hyperion and Staring had been working on another yacht, he told The Providence Journal.

‘‘The global yachting community is small and news such as this travels fast,’’ Wilson wrote in an email Saturday night to the newspaper. ‘‘As a result, emails and messages of condolence have been flooding in from every corner of the world. All three women were highly respected in their fields and enormously well-liked. We will miss them all terribly.’’

Wilson said Way had celebrated her 10th anniversary working at MCM this year. He said Staring and Owen ‘‘were also astonishing, bright, delightful women.’’

‘‘Losing any one of these remarkable women would be sad enough, but to lose all three as a result of this one heartbreaking accident causes devastation of immense proportions,’’ he said in the email.

Police have not disclosed who was driving and it’s not clear why the women were at the shipyard, which is open 24 hours a day and has a security guard posted at the entrance at all times.

Authorities said there was no evidence of foul play and the investigation is continuing.

Click here for the full report.

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