Review panel believes sailboat ran aground

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An independent review panel investigating the deaths of four sailors says it believes the 37-foot sailboat Aegean ran aground April 28 on North Coronado Island off the Mexican coast during the Newport (Calif.)-to-Ensenada (Mexico) race.

Officials initially believed the boat was struck and destroyed by a larger ship in the middle of the night. That theory was undercut when a website that tracks boats by GPS showed the Aegean’s course heading straight into the rocky island.

That accident came on the heels of a tragedy two weeks earlier during the Full Crew Farallones Race off the Northern California coast in which five sailors died when their sailboat was rolled in breaking waves off the Farallon Islands.

The US Sailing independent review panel announced its findings on Tuesday. The Coast Guard investigation is still open.

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